Lumber prices ride a volatility roller coaster

By Mary Salmonsen
Construction Dive
August 19, 2022
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, multifamily developers and builders have had their work cut out for them as they try to budget for their lumber needs. …In the entire history of the U.S. Bureau of Statistics’ softwood lumber producer price index, which goes back to 1947, prices never exhibited more than 10% volatility in a given month until early 2020, when the cost of lumber spiked 20%. Since then, the high ends of price volatility have ranged from 25%-30%. …When asked about their approaches to mitigating price increases or potential supply shortages for lumber, very few Construction Quarterly Survey respondents made design changes or turned to alternative products, materials and suppliers. Almost half — 48% — had changed their purchasing and warehousing schedules as a buffer against future price shifts. Thirty-seven percent had taken no action at all, a jump up from 18% the previous quarter.

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