New-home sales down 2%
Sales of new single-family homes in May 2011 dropped an estimated 2.1% over the previous month, according to figures released on June 23 by the U. S. Commerce Department.
May’s seasonally adjusted number, 319,000 units, was below April’s 326,000 units but 13.5% above May 2010’s new-home sales of 281,000.
The median sales price of new houses sold in May 2011 was $222,600; the average sales price was $266,400. The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of May was 166,000. This represents a supply of 6.2 months at the current sales rate.
Market Recap: RISI Crow’s Construction Materials Cost Index
A price index of lumber and panels used in actual construction for June 24, 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: SPF lumber sales increased early, leading to a quick firming of prices, which was followed by mills moving prices to higher levels by Thursday. The Southern Pine lumber market remained mired in a similar pattern as previous weeks. Dimension lumber prices were influenced by ample availability and, as a result, buyers demanded discounted prices. Demand continued to outpace sales of most items in the Coastal species lumber market. Dry Doug Fir remained the strongest of segments, with green Doug Fir prices managing to move higher because of scant availability. Inland species lumber mill inventories, which have been ragged, are expanding, which will serve the market but also pressure prices, as reported by several sources. Hem-Fir prices remain weaker than Fir-Larch because of better fiber supply and the presence of competitive products. Ponderosa Pine Mldg&Btr has been firm, although at least one producer has moved the price of 5/4 up $10. All 5/4 #2 Shop is very firm. Producers with few logs, higher quality production and consistent box business have been able to hold their #3 Common prices fairly well, while the balance of the market has slipped. Idaho White Pine Sterling was reported down from $5 to $15 this week. Eastern White Pine producers report fairly consistent prices in all grades except Selects. Radiata Pine prices are very firm, with both Mldg&Btr and Shop holding fast to established levels. Western Red Cedar buyers looking to purchase for shipment beyond July often sought PTS volumes from mills. Quick shipping volumes remained available despite mills with order files extending well into July.
PANELS: Sluggish sales activity in the Western Fir plywood market left producers with less order file than when they began the week. Buyers reported having little difficulty finding quick shipping availability. Southern Pine plywood sales slowed from the pace set the previous week, but order files established during that period left rated sheathing prices firm. The word for the week in OSB was "softer." Indeed, with the exception of the Eastern Canadian region, all areas have seen a quiet and softening week. At least one key Canadian plywood producer was able to elevate his numbers by a point earlier in the week and three points by Thursday afternoon. This activity resulted in the new baseline price of C$299. The resin industry projects another increase in resin costs for about July 15, according to industry reports. This action will serve to keep particleboard and MDF producers well behind the curve with regard to increases in expenses.
Source: RISI’s Crow’s Weekly Market Report
Recall issued on firepot gels
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Napa Home & Garden of Duluth, Ga., is recalling all bottles and jugs of gel fuel used to fill firepots in decorative lighting devices.
The pourable gel fuel can ignite unexpectedly and splatter onto people and objects nearby when it is poured into a firepot that is still burning. This hazard can occur if the consumer does not see the flame or is not aware that the firepot is still ignited. Fuel gel that splatters and ignites can pose fire and burn risks to consumers.
Napa is aware of 37 reports of incidents, including 23 burn injuries to consumers.
Approximately 460,000 bottles and jugs were sold under the name NAPAfire and FIREGEL Gel Fuel nationwide from December 2009 to June 2011. They were sold for $5 to $78 through Bed Bath & Beyond, Shopko, Restoration Hardware, specialty and gift shops, furniture stores, and home and garden stores, as well as Amazon.com, home and garden catalogs, and home decorators and landscape architects.
Consumers should immediately stop using the pourable gel fuel in firepots and return all bottles or jugs to the retailer where the consumer purchased the fuel for a full refund. A retrofit for the Napa brand firepots is being evaluated and may be available in the near future, according to the recall notice.