Benchmark Softwood Lumber Prices Jan 2021 & US NEW Home Sales Dec 2020
New home sales in the US increased +1.6% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 842,000 units last month, said the latest data released by the US Commerce Department. November’s sales pace was revised down to 829,000 units from the previously reported 841,000 units. New home sales jumped +15.2% on a year-on-year basis.
Sales totalled 811,000 in 2020, up +19% over 2019’s 683,000.
Closed sales of existing homes in December, meanwhile, increased just +0.7% from November to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 6.76 million units, according to the National Association of Realtors. Sales were +22% stronger than in December 2019.
At the end of December, inventory stood at just 1.07 million homes for sale, down -23% year over year. At the current sales place, that represents a 1.9-month supply. That is the lowest number of homes on the market since the Realtors began tracking this metric in 1982.
For all of 2020, US existing home sales rose to 6.48 million, the highest total since 2006. That represented a +5.6% gain from the 5.34 million previously owned homes sold in 2019.
The median sales price of an existing home was US$309,800 in December, up +13% from a year ago. For December, sales of single-family existing homes rose +0.7% to a rate of 6.03 million while sales of condominiums were up +1.4% to 730,000.
Back to new homes, purchases of new single-family houses increased +1.6% to an 842,000 annualized pace in December from a downwardly revised 829,000 rate in the prior month.
The median new house price surged +8% to US$355,900 in December from a year ago.
There were 302,000 new homes on the market last month, up from 290,000 in November. At December’s sales pace it would take 4.3 months to clear the supply of houses on the market, up from 4.2 months in November. It took just 21 days on average to sell a home in December.
“It is unusual, because every year during the holiday season we would see days on market increase, but not this year,” said Lawrence Yun.
chief economist for the National Association of Realtors
Benchmark Softwood Lumber Price Western Spruce-Pine-Fir 2×4: 2018 – 2021
As January 2021 marched on, lumber prices corrected downward somewhat from the unseasonal increase for the first week of the year. In the week ending January 22, 2021, the price of benchmark softwood lumber commodity item Western S-P-F KD 2×4 #2&Btr dropped by -$50, or -5.6%, to US$894 mfbm, from $944 the previous week, said Madison’s Lumber Reporter.
Last week’s price is +$20, or +2.3%, more than it was one month ago when it was $874.
Compared to the price one-year-ago, of US$402 mfbm, last week benchmark softwood lumber item Western S-P-F KD 2×4 #2&Btr was selling for US$894 mfbm which is +$492, or +45% more.
Historical Softwood Lumber Prices: Current vs Highs & Lows
STAY AHEAD of US housing price data by getting access to softwood lumber prices. Released every Friday for that week, since 1952 Madison’s Lumber Prices is used by the forest products industry as a price guide for North American construction framing dimension softwood lumber. These are, of course, the inputs into US and Canadian home building materials.
Shrewd investors know that construction framing softwood lumber prices are a good leading indicator for US housing activity, including home building and home sales.
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