US Housing Total and 1-Unit Starts May & Benchmark Softwood Lumber Prices June: 2021
The true building season has come on in Canada and the US, with the latest house construction activity showing big gains from the stark drops of one year ago when the COVID restrictions hit society. For May 2021, total residential starts in the US increased by more than +50% to a 1.57 million annualized rate, from 1.05 million in the same month one year ago. Similarly showing great improvement, permits for future homebuilding in May, were up by +35%, to a rate of 1.68 million units, compared to May 2020 when it was 1.25 million.
May starts of single-family housing, the largest share of the market and construction method which uses the most wood, jumped by +39% compared to May 2020, at 1.1 million annualized, compared to an abysmal 675,000. Slowing down from the previous month but improving markedly over one-year-ago, single-family permits were at 1.1 million units, a +32% improvement compared to May 2020 when it was 745,000 units.
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.
Benchmark Softwood Lumber Commodity Western Spruce-Pine-Fir Price: June 2021
As for the lumber market, conditions finally turned in the favour of customers — for the time being, at least. For the week ending June 10, 2021 the wholesaler price of benchmark softwood lumber commodity item Western S-P-F KD 2×4 #2&Btr corrected down significantly, by -$325, or -21%, to US$1,275, from $1,600 mfbm the previous week.
That week’s price is down by -$343, or -21%, from one month ago when it was $1,618.
Compared to the price one-year-ago, when it was US$378 mfbm, for the week ending June 10, 2021, the price of Western S-P-F KD 2×4 was up by +$897, or +237%.
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 May and Benchmark Softwood Lumber Prices June: 2021
The latest data from the Western Wood Products Association shows that Canadian and US softwood lumber production and sawmill capacity utilization rates improved in March. Finally! Lumber prices have been so strong in the past year in part because the huge — and sudden — increase in demand was met by supply levels struggling to serve this unexpected situation.
It takes a long time to ramp up a sawmill, to bring a sawmill out of curtailment, to restart a mill that has been closed.
Meanwhile, new housing construction activity and home sales across North America shot up very sharply, and have not really abated.