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12/21/2021

Lumber market update from Mid-Cape Home Centers

Purchasing Manager Will DeMaida outlines factors impacting the market and prices.
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a truck that is driving down the street
A division of US LBM, Mid-Cape Home Centers operates six locations in the coastal region of Massachusetts.

Will DeMaida, purchasing manager at Mid-Cape Home Centers, recently provided a lumber market update to the dealer’s customers.

The South Dennis, Mass.-based company, a division of US LBM, shared the information in its latest newsletter.

The latest Producer Price Index from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that softwood lumber (seasonally adjusted) increased 6.9% in November and has gained 16.1% since September. Overall, the cost of materials used in residential construction increased 1.8% last month. 

Here’s what DeMaida had to say about various factors impacting the lumber market:

The further we go into this pandemic, the more it feels like you can break it into “phases” – these can be based on national/international events (Presidential election, lock-down, vaccine distribution, etc.), or industry-specific milestones (lumber price surges, PT and White Cedar Shingle shortages, etc), and all are impacted by outside forces. Regardless, we all have been operating in each of these phases and, whether we like it or not, they’ve affected how we’ve operated. No one has ever had to deal with this before, so we’re all learning as we go.

Like now, for example – the latest issue comes to us from Vancouver, where flooding has tragically washed away sections of road and rail and has greatly impacted the availability of lumber products across the U.S., causing prices to soar. ½” fir plywood is now already more expensive than it was last winter, and prices are expected to continue to rise as the system tries to absorb the shock from the flooding and related transportation issues.

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Mid-Cape Home Centers Logo

In all this uncertainty, one thing is certain – dealers in our industry will follow the herd and exhaust any supply of material during a shortage like this (just like toilet paper). Products go from little interest to overwhelming interest overnight, further driving up prices as the material goes to the highest bidder. Knowing this, and experiencing the same kind of run on similar products over the last 18 months, we’ve been forced to come up with new ways to combat these issues and keep material on the ground. Usually that comes at the expense of higher prices, but not always.

Learning from experience, planning ahead, and being flexible are the most important things we can be doing to successfully see us through to the end of this. This latest increase is just a new phase that we’ll be operating in, and we’ll approach it using all the information we have (and all that we’ve learned) to make the best decisions for our customers.

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Mid-Cape Home Centers operates six locations in the southern coastal region of Massachusetts. The company was acquired by US LBM in September.

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