With the harsh winter season behind us, in April 2021 construction activity rebounded spectacularly compared to one year ago when the restrictions of Covid were in place and industry was halted for approximately six weeks.
US Housing Total and 1-Unit Starts April & Benchmark Softwood Lumber Prices May 2021
The headlines today read that US housing starts are down compared to last month, which they are but by such small amounts it would be far to say they are level. However the important thing to note is that building has totally recovered from the big drops of the same month in 2020. Compared to April 2020 total residential starts in the US last month surged up by +67% to a 1.73 million annualized rate, from 938,000 in the same month one year ago.
Continuing the trend of huge increases compared to the lows of one-year-ago, permits for future homebuilding increased spectacularly in April, up by +61% to a rate of 1.76 million units compared to April 2020 when it was 1.09 million.
April starts of single-family housing, the largest share of the market and construction method which uses the most wood, rocketed up by +67% compared to April 2020, at 1.01 million annualized. Levelling off after big gains in the previous month, single-family permits, meanwhile, were at 1.15 million, down by a nominal -4% compared to March.
Shrewd investors know that construction framing softwood lumber prices are a good leading indicator for US housing activity, including home building and home sales. Don’t miss out, get lumber price data updates directly to your desktop every Friday morning:
As for lumber prices, continued price increases were met with disbelief, however inventories throughout the supply chain were so low that customers could do nothing but pay. In the week ending May 7, 2021 the wholesaler price of benchmark softwood lumber commodity item Western S-P-F KD 2×4 #2&Btr was US$1,550 mfbm. This is up by +$130, or +8%, from the previous week when it was $1,420.
That week’s price is up by +$320, or +26%, from one month ago when it was $1,230.
Benchmark Softwood Lumber Commodity Western Spruce-Pine-Fir Price: May 2021
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.
Madison’s Lumber Prices, weekly, are a good forecast indicator of US home builder’s current lumber buying activity ——> DETAILS
US Housing 1-Unit Starts & Permits April and Benchmark Softwood Lumber Prices May 2021
Compared to the price one-year-ago, when it was US$354 mfbm, for the week ending May 7, 2021, the price of Western S-P-F KD 2×4 was up by +$1,196, or +338%.