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Market Recap: RISI Crow’s Construction Materials Cost Index

BY HBSDEALER Staff

A price index of lumber and panels used in actual construction for April 18, 2014

*Western – regional species perimeter foundation; Southern – regional species slab construction.

Crow’s Market Recap — A condensed recap of the market conditions for the major North American softwood lumber and panel products as reported in Crow’s Weekly Market Report. 

Lumber: Declining futures contracts throughout much of the week limited buyers’ confidence in the SPF lumber market. Traders continued to point to excess volumes at mills, in part due to railcar shortages, as a major influence on their approach to the market. Discounts for Southern Pine dimension lumber were less severe than in previous weeks, especially in the East, where discounts rarely dipped below $5. The deepest cuts remained in narrow dimensions, as small log output of 2×4 and 2×6 continued to outpace demand. Decent follow through from the previous week in the Coastal species lumber market allowed producers to maintain price levels for most dry items and raise narrow widths in green Doug Fir more than any other items. Buyer participation in the Inland market was limited early, and most sales were made with some concessions. By midweek, mills were less inclined to deal, and by week’s end, prices were back close to previous asking levels. Availability of Radiata Pine Mldg&Btr remained tight, with few excess loads being offered. Inland mills cutting Ponderosa Pine reported little trouble moving off their Shop production. Ponderosa Pine board producers reported a steady market for #3 Commons, with gradual increases in prices. Although not as strong as #3, activity for #2&Btr improved also. Sales of ESLP #3 followed in the footsteps of Ponderosa Pine, with steady sales and prices moving up on 1×6, 1×8 and 1×10. Solid sales of Idaho White Pine Standard grade were reported. Discussions regarding the extent of Western Red Cedar sales activity during the peak buying season emerged, as that time is now widely perceived to have arrived. Various retailers and distributors suggested they are a month to six weeks behind their normal sales pace. 

Panels: Inquiries and sales increased in many of the OSB trading regions. Traders reported discounts at mills early in the week, but mills soon shifted into a more steadfast posture, as mill order files extended and excess inventories were reduced. Southern Pine plywood producers experienced enough follow through from the prior week’s increase in demand to nudge rated sheathing prices higher. Although availability remained in the week of April 28, lead times for the most significant volumes eased into the week of May 5. Most Western Fir plywood producers reported a slower sales pace than the end of the prior week, as carload demand faded. Producers with higher quotes generally tried to sell as much as possible into western markets in truckload volumes. A shortened holiday week and continuing winter weather were both cited as reasons for a slow market for Canadian plywood. While distribution yards in some eastern regions reported business as “brisk,” producers did not see much follow-through in the form of purchases. Particleboard producers reported another good week of sales. MDF imports and North American production combined to make supplies readily available for customers.

For more on RISI, click here.   

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Lewis plays role in Living Spaces opening

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The latest Living Spaces home furnishings store in Phoenix features a collaboration between the California-based retailer and home improvement TV star Jeff Lewis.

As Living Spaces’ Creative Director, Lewis’ designs and curated rooms can be viewed in the store’s “Styled by Jeff Lewis” gallery. Lewis hosts Bravo’s Flipping Out and Interior Therapy

Located off the 10 freeway at the 67th Ave. exit in Phoenix, the Living Spaces Phoenix showroom is the company’s second location in Arizona. 

Other shopper benefits include a non-commission sales staff, complimentary design consulting, a supervised kids’ fun room and Living Spaces’ 110% Low Price Guarantee.

The retailer serves California and Arizona with 11 retail locations and distribution centers in Rialto, Calif., and Phoenix.

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NAHB analyzes March starts

BY HBSDEALER Staff

With the buying season just around the corner, the National Association of Home Builders has studied the March housing starts data and sees improving signals.

Led by a 6% rise in single-family starts, nationwide housing production rose 2.8% above an upwardly revised February rate of 920,000 to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 946,000 units in March, according to the figures from the U.S. Census Bureau.

“We see improving signs of new-home construction as we move into the spring buying season,” said Kevin Kelly, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder and developer from Wilmington, Del.  “The strongest recovery is in the Northeast and Midwest, where builders were hampered by severe winter weather earlier in the year.”

The March report "is in line with our forecast of a gradual strengthening in the housing sector in 2014,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “However, several uncertainties including tight credit conditions for home buyers and erratic job growth are making builders cautious about getting ahead of demand.”

Single-family housing starts rose 6% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 635,000 units in March, while multifamily starts fell 6.1% to 292,000 units.

Regionally in March, combined single- and multifamily housing production rose strongly in the Northeast and Midwest with gains of 30.7% and 65.5%, respectively, but fell 9.1% and 4.5% in the South and West, respectively. 

Overall permit issuance fell 2.4% to 990,000 units in March. The Northeast and Midwest posted gains of 33.3% and 26%, respectively, while the West was unchanged and the South posted a 17.1% decline.

 

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