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Monday, July 29, 2013

July Market Update

As we reach the mid-point of the year we all are feeling the effects of an
increasingly even and robust recovery within our industry. Lead times from
manufacturers have increased, trucking from wholesalers and mills continues to
be in high demand and labor in the field is tight and appears to be tightening
even more as we head farther into the year. We've seen some softening within
the commodity markets over the last few weeks but we are still higher than last
year at this time. It appears that the market has found a sustainable level and
is showing some slight rebound after this most recent decline. We would expect
this slow climb to be the norm for the rest of the year barring any unforeseen
storms. It's interesting to note that more mills in both framing lumber and
panels are coming back on line and capacity within the system is increasing.
This should help stabilize prices in the near term. Please work with your WBS
sales person to get a perspective on how these developments may affect your
projects specifically.


As activity slowed in the second quarter, forecasters tracking U.S. housing
starts have dialed back projections for single-family housing, while increasing
the share of new home start-ups in the multi-family sector. According to Random
Lengths, the decrease in single-family starts is due to recent gains in interest
rates, slowed employment growth and existing home inventory. Although housing
start projections have been decreased, the forecasts are still 4% higher than
projections from January, upholding the slow and steady growth calculated for
the remainder of this year and into 2014.


A recent survey by the NAHB provided data on building material costs across
the U.S. from May 2012 to May 2013 as reported by both builders and building
material sellers. Builders cited the following frequently purchased materials
to have recent price increases (in the order of largest percentage): framing
lumber, OSB, plywood, gypsum, trusses, ready-mix concrete, roofing materials,
and cement. Dealers also purchased the same materials most often, but cited a
higher increase in cost. These findings were consistent across all regions.
Current cost hikes can be attributed to a slow recovery starting at the
manufacturers' level. Builder Online notes, "Manufacturers experienced the same
collapse in their markets. After ramping up capacity to supply the construction
of more than 2 million homes a year, home building fell to barely 0.5 million."
The article closes with this reminder: "As production comes back, resources will
return but it will take time. The slow housing rebound may be a blessing in
disguise giving the rest of the housing support system time to rebuild."

Find the full article on