Timber Prices Remain Flat Despite Upward Trajectory Of Housing Starts

Housing starts are finally approaching 1.3 million starts per year, a level that traditionally has led to upward pressure on sawtimber stumpage prices. However, there are factors at work that could undermine this pressure on prices, the head of one of the nation’s largest forest management firms reports.

Marshall Thomas, president of F&W Forestry Services, Inc., reports in his firm’s spring newsletter that while housing starts are approaching this milestone level, there is likely to be a delay in a corresponding increase in timber prices.

“It may be traditional wisdom doesn’t apply for two reasons,” Thomas writes. “First, we have too much standing inventory of pine sawtimber, and second, the houses being built today may not use the same amount of lumber that was used prior to the recent housing crisis.”

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