LUMBERYARDS

Changes recommended to Southern Pine grading

BY Brae Canlen

A comprehensive testing of commercial produced Southern Pine has been completed, and as a result, the industry may see smaller reductions for the wider widths and higher grades of Southern Pine dimensional lumber as compared with the No.2 2x4s. Design values for visually graded Southern Pine lumber, including dense and non-dense grades, may also change.

These proposals came from a committee that analyzed the test data from the Southern Pine Inspection Bureau (SPIB), the rules-writing agency that monitors and publishes new design values. The advisory committee includes technical representatives of lumber producers, as well as key user groups, such as home builders and component manufacturers.

Other recommendations from the committee included no change in the current Southern Pine specific gravity value of 0.55 and prime grades (No.1 Prime and No.2 Prime), keeping the same design values as their corresponding dimension lumber grades.

The American Lumber Standards Committee, whose board meets on Oct. 18, 2012, will hear additional testimony before making a final decision on proposed changes to new design values for visually graded Southern Pine dimension lumber.

For more information about the testing, design values or timetable, visit Southernpine.com.

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Sales rise nearly 32% at BFS

BY Brae Canlen

Revenues jumped 31.7% at Builders FirstSource, the Dallas-based pro dealer, which posted net sales of $279.1 million for the second quarter of 2012, up from sales of $206.4 million in the same quarter of 2011. Net loss for the quarter, which ended June 30, was $12 million, compared with $15.4 million in 2011.

Sales from lumber and sheet goods showed the greatest gains during the quarter at 32.4%, followed by windows and doors at 21.8%. Prefabricated components rose by 18.8% and millwork by 9.7%. Most of the growth in sales was from an increase in sales volume, according to the company.

CEO Floyd Sherman said in a prepared statement: “Our topline growth far exceeded the increase in residential construction activity, and we met our primary goal for the quarter of getting back to positive EBITDA.”
Sherman added, “The broad-based housing recovery that began in the latter half of 2011 continues, though moderately paced. At the same time, however, we are seeing meaningful improvements in our financial results as we continue to grow market share, leverage our strong competitive position, and provide first-class customer service.”

Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, Builders FirstSource is a leading supplier and manufacturer of structural and related building products for residential new construction. The company operates 53 distribution centers and 44 manufacturing facilities in 9 states, principally in the southern and eastern United States.

         

         

 

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Existing-home prices rise in June but sales drop

BY Brae Canlen

Numbers released today by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) showed continued gains in-existing home prices but a slower market for sales. Completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops declined 5.4% in June compared with May. In year-over-year figures, June 2012 was 4.5% higher than June 2011.

The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $189,400 in June, up 7.9% from a year ago. This marks four back-to-back monthly price increases from a year earlier, which last occurred in February to May of 2006. June’s gain was the strongest since February 2006 when the median price rose 8.7% from a year prior.

NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun said the bigger story is lower inventory and the recovery in home prices. "Despite the frictions related to obtaining mortgages, buyer interest remains solid. But inventory continues to shrink and that is limiting buying opportunities. This, in turn, is pushing up home prices in many markets," Yun said. "The price improvement also results from fewer distressed homes in the sales mix."

Distressed homes — foreclosures and short sales sold at deep discounts — accounted for 25% of June sales (13% were foreclosures and 12% were short sales), unchanged from May but down from 30% from June 2011. Foreclosures sold for an average discount of 18% below market value in June, while short sales were discounted 15%. "The distressed portion of the market will further diminish because the number of seriously delinquent mortgages has been falling," said Yun.

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