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May was a record month for a remodeling index

BY HBSDealer Staff

The BuildFax Remodeling Index for May 2011 reported that despite high unemployment rates and falling home prices, remodeling activity has reached a new high. The index, released July 18, was reported to be up 22% with a value of 124.3 for May, the highest number since the index’s introduction in 2004. Furthermore, BuildFax reported, May marked the 19th straight month for year-over-year gains in the remodeling industry. Consumers, the data show, are continuing to invest in remodeling and are choosing to remodel rather than purchase new homes.

The BFRI reports trends in remodeling activity by region (Northeast, Midwest, South, and West), as well as remodeling data for the entire United States. The May 2011 index reported month-over-month gains in all regions, and year-over-year gains in all regions except the Midwest, which has lagged behind the other regions in year-over-year comparisons for the last three months.

In month-over-month comparisons, the Northeast index rose 12%, the South 7%, the Midwest 18% and the West 7%. Year-over-year data showed that the Northeast was up 9%, the South 10%, the West 21%, and the Midwest had declined by11%.

BFRI values dating back to early 2004 are available for purchase on the BuildFax website

Separately, BuildFax said it will begin to offer its BuildFax Buyer’s Reports service to consumers. The reports, which provide information about repairs and upgrades made to specific homes and searchable by address, were previously available only to industry professionals. 

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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 July 15, 2011

*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: After a decent start, trading in the SPF lumber market slowed as the week progressed. Eastern mills continued to experience improved demand for limited production. The ability of Southern Pine lumber mills to sell enough volume to keep buildups from occurring helped establish a better tone in the market. Dry Doug Fir remained the highlight of the Coastal species lumber market, although dimension prices in that species did not gain more than $5. While the price of green Doug Fir 2×4 Std&Btr managed to hold at $260, at least one producer looked to move volumes of that item quietly at $255 and lower. Prices of all Inland Hem-Fir items have pushed up from $5 to $10, depending on the item involved. Fir-Larch has been considerably firmer for some weeks, and it remains the stronger of the two species. Prices, however, have not changed this week. Ponderosa Pine 5/4 Shop shows little price pressure either up or down, but it is very firm. In the same way, 6/4 Shop is firm and a little more accessible than it was earlier. Commons, in general, are strongest in #3, with #4 termed "OK" by sources, and #2 Common the laggard of the lot. Radiata Pine is being steered by global demand, a demand that seems strong enough to bring price increases, according to key sources. Eastern White Pine mills continue to minimize production, matching it to core customer demand. The spring buying season brought little in the way of price increases for most Western Red Cedar items, and demand remained steady but pedestrian for many products.

PANELS: Most Western Fir plywood producers ended the week carrying order files extending into the week of July 25, but price concessions were made in some instances to move product. Sales activity in the Southern Pine plywood market was notably better. The activity was not enough to propel prices to higher levels, but mills did extend order files into the week of July 25. OSB prices in most regions have eased down from their levels of two weeks ago, some more than others. Some regions attempted to hold to established numbers, while others sense an ongoing erosion in both prices and buyer interest. Canadian plywood mills have little Spruce plywood to sell, and the price ranges from C$293 to C$308. U.S. plywood is coming into the market at eight to 10 points below Canadian plywood. Production capacity continues to limit enthusiasm in both particleboard and MDF markets, although producers have definitely learned to contain production.

For more on RISI, click here.

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Industry Dashboard for July 18, 2011

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Monthly retail sales for NACIS 444 and NAICS 44413 offer a little something to cheer about on the Home Channel News Industry Dashboard. The Stock Roundup also shows gains. 

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