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A Slowdown in Housing Demand Is Creating a Surfeit of Lumber Products

Building Materials

A Slowdown in Housing Demand Is Creating a Surfeit of Lumber Products

Housing demand is cooling across the U.S., and as some builders pull back, a glut of lumber inventory is sending prices to post-pandemic lows

June 2, 2022
Lumber boards stacked in warehouse
Image: Stock.adobe.com

Lumper prices fell 7% on June 1 to a new 2022 low of $604.50 per thousand board feet, and prices could continue to drop if the market keeps cooling. A slowdown in home sales is causing some builders to put off new housing plans, and as a result, inventories are piling up at sawmills and home improvement stores across the U.S., Insider reports.

After shortages and price hikes driven by wildfires and tariffs on imports throughout the pandemic, a sudden increase in lumber supply is having the opposite effect. Excess inventory could send prices even lower and may ultimately ease inflationary pressures in the housing market by reducing the cost of residential construction. 

The sharp increase in lumber supply could lead to a continued downward spiral in lumber prices if demand doesn't pick up quickly. 

Lumber buyers have slowed down their ordering and sawmills are beginning to slash their prices as inventory builds, according to a weekly report from Random Lengths, cited by The Wall Street Journal."Triple-digit discounts became the rule rather than the exception," Random Lengths said.

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