Market Update November 2023

After a sustained but fairly modest fall in pricing, both lumber and panels found at least a temporary bottom and have rebounded some. But the lack of any urgency by buyers and a subdued level of demand isn’t allowing the mills to push prices higher with any strength. In spite of the regular announcements of plant shutdowns for the holidays or scheduled maintenance, there remains a tinge of a lack of confidence heading into 2024 that has buyers sticking to a conservative approach in building any inventory. The combination of higher mortgage rates along with home prices being close to all-time highs has many people pausing to re-evaluate their home buying/building decisions. This is likely to be temporary as the fact remains that nationally the housing inventory continues to be far short of what is needed. As inflation ebbs and folks get more accustomed to the higher rates, and possibly we even see them start to go down, there will be a calming among home buyers and a return to a more robust market. Most forecasts for the remainder of this decade remain bullish for our industry and a slow but steady course wouldn’t be the worst thing we could wish for. Though quantity may be ticking down, it seems the quality of the business that’s out there is tracking in a positive direction.
Lead times continue to improve for most building materials with some exceptions while costs are mainly holding steady. Global transportation costs have come back down to normal levels and there have been no noticeable changes due to world events. Hiring talented or at least reliable employees continues to plague much of our industry but also appears to be moving in a positive direction. We wish everyone a good close to the year, a bright 2024 and hopefully a chance to spend time with those you cherish.
Sadly, another year has come and gone.