Tree Frog Forestry News

Category Archives: Finance & Economics

Finance & Economics

Dealers continue to report steady to strong sales

FEA – Forest Economic Advisors
July 2, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada, United States

Dealers are reporting another week of steady to strong sales. Some dealers are anticipating that their sales might be a bit slower next week, as builders take a few days off to celebrate the 4th of July holiday. Others dealers are expecting it to be business as usual, as builders try to make up for earlier COVID-19 lost time. May’s existing home sales were a bit disappointing. However, dealers noted that new homes sales in May were higher than April’s and higher than May of 2019 levels. Dealers are reporting mills are quoting production for the late July and early to mid-August and prices continue to move higher on both lumber and panels.

Read More

Big rise for dimension softwood lumber prices following plywood last week

By Madison’s Lumber Reporter
Wood Business – Canadian Forest Industries
July 2, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada, United States

The big surge in plywood prices of two weeks ago… was followed last week by a spike in most softwood lumber commodity prices. …For its part, benchmark construction framing dimension lumber item WSPF 2×4 #2&Btr KD rose +42, or +11 per cent, to US$436 mfbm, from US$394 the week before. The price for this benchmark lumber commodity was up +$58, or +15 per cent from one month ago. Compared to the same week in 2019 when it was flat at US$402 for several weeks, this price is up +$34, or +8 per cent.

Read More

Dealers report another week of steady to strong sales

FEA – Forest Economic Advisors
June 25, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada, United States

Dealers are reporting another week of steady to strong sales. Some dealers are anticipating that their sales might be a bit slower next week, as builders take a few days off to celebrate the 4th of July holiday. Others are expecting it to be business as usual, as builders try to make up for earlier COVID-19 lost time. …Dealers are reporting mills are quoting production for the late July and early to mid-August and prices continue to move higher on both lumber and panels. Dealers noted that both mills and pressure treaters are shipping behind schedule. 

Read More

It’s a Topsy-Turvy World. What Can We Expect Next?

By Craig Webb, President, Webb Analytics
The Softwood Lumber Board
June 25, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada, United States

All of Craig Webb’s predictions in a single gulp:

  • The “Next Normal” will include more telework, health worries
  • Infrastructure and economic gaps will retard potential changes
  • Single-family construction will fare better than multi-family complexes
  • Average home sizes will at least stabilize
  • Growth in starter homes will be hurt more than custom homes
  • Too many parts of the economy are hurting for there to be a quick recovery
  • Keep an eye on shaky banks, impoverished state and local governments

Read More

Most softwood lumber prices moderate while plywood prices’ surge

By Madison’s Lumber Reporter
Wood Business – Canadian Forest Industries
June 24, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada, United States

Sales of plywood in the Eastern Canadian market went bananas last week and its possible that’s just the beginning of a real price surge. Demand for OSB meanwhile was a snoozefest by comparison. …For the week ending June 19, 2020, prices of standard construction framing dimension softwood lumber items waffled; as some improved, others fell, and yet others stayed flat. For its part, benchmark item WSPF 2×4 #2&Btr KD popped to US$394 mfbm, from US$378 the week before. The price for this benchmark lumber commodity was up +$22, or +6 per cent from one month ago.

Read More

Conference Board of Canada mid-term outlook

By Clayton Jarvis
Mortgage Broker News
June 22, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada

On Monday, the Conference Board of Canada released its anticipated look at the mid-term future of the Canadian economy. The Board’s Canadian Outlook Summary: Summer 2020, in contrast to projections made by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, predicts less dramatic declines in housing prices, but its remaining insights track closely with projections that see the damage done to Canada’s economy at the hands of COVID-19 lingering well into 2021. In what the Board is calling the “deepest and shortest recession on record”, Canada’s economy is expected to contract by 8.2% in 2020. …Unemployment is expected to peak at 13.7 percent in the second quarter of 2020 [and] is expected to remain above seven percent until late 2021.

Read More

Housing will outperform the US economy, so will forest products

Kelly McCloskey, Editor
The Tree Frog Forestry News
June 22, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada, United States

FEA/Wood Markets 10th annual Global Softwood Log and Lumber conference—the virtual version—wrapped last week with a discussion on global mega-trends and their potential impact post COVID-19. FEA’s forecast calls for the economy to return to its fourth quarter 2019 level, in the second half of 2022, and softwood lumber and other forest product consumption to regain their 2019-Q4 levels in 2021. North American speaker summaries are available in the Tree Frog News, including Russ Taylor (overview on supply trends), Brendan Lowney (US economic forecast), Paul Jannke (lumber markets), Jeff Webber, Rob Schuetz and Rocky Goodnow (log and lumber markets), and François Robichaud, Art Schmon, Lucas Epp and Mike Schmidt (engineered wood and mass timber products). 

Read More

Softwood lumber prices in North America stabilize even as inventories remain weak

Lesprom Network
June 17, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada, United States

After a wild ride down then up over the past few months, most standard construction framing dimension softwood lumber prices stabilized last week to levels both producers and customers are comfortable with. Inventories remain spotty as sawmill production is still constrained and buyers continue to look for highly specified loads only… Purveyors of Western Spruce-Pine-Fir commodities in the United States described last week as similar to the previous one as most customers had their near-term needs covered and continued to be careful in their dealings. Players reported good consumption levels in Western and Southwestern states.The largest producers of Western SPF in Canada noted that business came in fits and starts last week. … Order files were now into the week of July 3rd on most items, with sawmills running two- to three-weeks late on existing orders.

Read More

Dealers encouraged by the uptick in housing starts: FEA

FEA – Forest Economic Advisors
June 18, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada, United States

Dealers reported another week of steady to sneaky strong sales. Dealers are very encouraged by the uptick in May’s Housing Starts and Permits. They also noted the spike in builders confidence that was reported earlier in the week. Respondents believe that both reports indicate that their sales will continue to be steady to strong well into the summer building season. Lumber and panel producers are quoting production anywhere from the week of 6/29, to as far out as the week 7/13. Prices remain in an upward tilt, but prices are showing sign of fatigue.

Read More

Consumer Confidence Rises in Canada for 7th Straight Week

By Shelly Hagan
Bloomberg
June 15, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada

Canadians are slowly shedding their pessimism about the economy as provinces gradually reopen from the pandemic-induced shutdowns, with the consumer confidence edging higher for a seventh straight week. The Bloomberg Nanos Canadian Confidence Index, based on a random survey of Canadians, rose to 42.86 last week from 41 a week earlier. …“Although consumer confidence remains net negative, there are emerging signs in the data of a potential confidence recovery,” Nik Nanos, chief data scientist at Nanos Research, said in the report. “Perceptions on the future strength of the Canadian economy has improved seven points compared to four weeks ago.”

Read More

Canadian existing home sales jump in May, but remain at multi-year lows

EconoTimes
June 15, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada

Canada’s existing home sales rose 56.9 percent month-on-month in May as buyers came back. Home sales had dropped to their weakest level on record in the prior month owing to the pandemic. However, the large gain recorded in May has retraced around one third of activity lost between February and April, and sales continued to be at multi-year lows. Province wise, sales rose in nearly every province, led by Quebec, recording a jump of 107.3 percent.

Read More

Softwood lumber prices have stabilized while inventories remain weak

By Madison’s Lumber Reporter
Wood Business – Canadian Forest Industries
June 16, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada, United States

After a wild ride down then up over the past few months, most standard construction framing dimension softwood lumber prices stabilized last week, to levels both producers and customers are comfortable with. …For the week ending June 12, 2020, prices of most standard construction framing dimension softwood lumber items remained flat, with benchmark item WSPF 2×4 #2&Btr KD still at US378 mfbm, as the week before. The price for this benchmark lumber commodity was up +$18, or plus five per cent from one month ago. Compared to the same week in 2019 when it was US$376, this price is up +$2, or plus one per cent.

Read More

Canada’s housing market shrugs off COVID-19 effect, for now

By Julie Gordon
Reuters
June 15, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada

Bidding wars and buoyant starts: Canada’s housing market is not buckling under the double-shock of COVID-19 and slumping oil prices, which have crippled the country’s economy and led to a record-high unemployment rate Home sales rebounded 56.9% in May from the previous month, the weakest April on record, the Canadian Real Estate Association said on Monday. Prices were up 5.3% year-over-year and flat with April, as new listings have plunged, keeping supply tight in many markets. This follows surprisingly buoyant housing starts released last week, as construction clawed back from April shutdowns.

Read More

Dealers report uptick in sales activity: FEA

FEA – Forest Economic Advisors
June 11, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada, United States

After a quiet start to June, dealers are reporting an uptick in this week’s sales activity. As new projects start up, some dealers are reporting experiencing a 6% – 10% improvement over last week. Dealers continue to anticipate that their June and July construction sales will be steady to strong. Lumber producers are quoting production scheduled for late June and early to mid-July. Prices remain in an upward tilt, but this week’s increases have been more moderate. …While buyers remain willing to purchase their end of June and first week of July needs, purchasing beyond has become somewhat problematic for them. The result of higher prices and late shipments.

Read More

Lumber Producers in Many Key Regions Around the World Experienced Slight Improvements in Profitability in Early 2020, Mainly Driven by Higher Prices

By Wood Resources International LLC
Cision Newswire
June 9, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada, United States

STOCKHOLM — …The important US market saw improvements in lumber prices in 2019 and early 2020, while sawlog prices fell. This made it profitable again for BC many sawmills to produce lumber. Profits for sawmills in the US South reached record highs in 2018 but have since fallen substantially. …Net wood costs have remained practically unchanged for almost ten years, while lumber prices have fluctuated dramatically, thus making lumber prices the main driving factor for profitability in the sawmill sector in the region. …Profit margins fell substantially for sawmills producing construction lumber in Brazil, New Zealand, Austria, Sweden and the US South during 2019 but saw some improvements in early 2020. 

Read More

Buyers pull back, sit on inventory amid civil unrest

By Madison’s Lumber Reporter
Wood Business – Canadian Forest Industries
June 9, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada, United States

Sales of Western-Spruce-Pine-Fir construction framing dimension softwood lumber in the US took a step back last week as civil unrest around the country led to most buyers taking a circumspect approach, by sitting on whatever inventory they had. …As indicated by Madison’s last week, in the immediate term it is panel — specifically plywood — prices which will provide indication of upcoming demand for softwood lumber. Benchmark panel item Oriented Strand Board prices remained flat last week but Canadian Softwood Plywood 3/8” Toronto rose another +$8, or +2 per cent. …For the week ending June 5, 2020, prices of most standard construction framing dimension softwood lumber items remained flat, with benchmark item WSPF 2×4 #2&Btr KD still at US378 mfbm, as the week before. 

Read More

B.C. housing starts reclaim some lost ground

By Bryan You
Business in Vancouver
June 24, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada, Canada West

B.C. housing starts regained some lost ground in May following a sharp April pullback, but the trend continued to decline amid the COVID-19 economic downturn. Urban starts in the province reached a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 36,156 units in May, up 30% from April’s 27,690 units. That said, monthly starts were down 33% year over year. Despite record-high annual starts, fewer pre-sale transactions had already contributed to a downward trend since mid-2019. COVID-19 has amplified this downshift as demand falters, developers adjust and construction companies make operational changes to ensure workplace safety.

Read More

Toronto home builders warn of housing project delays due to COVID-19

By Tess Kalinowski
The Peterborough Examiner
June 22, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada East, Canada

The home building industry is warning that COVID-19 related construction delays will make Toronto’s housing shortage worse by stalling up to 9,000 housing starts and the occupancy of another 8,000 in the next 18 months. A third of housing projects are behind schedule by six months or more, according to a Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) mid-May survey of the its members being released Monday. The findings underscore the recommendations of a BILD report released two weeks ago recommending billions in stimulus spending, tax cuts and delays, changes to mortgage rules and approval and planning efficiencies.

Read More

US Consumer Confidence Increases in June

By Fan-Yu Kuo
NAHB – Eye on Housing
June 30, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States

After a sharp decline in April, consumer confidence improved in June for a second straight month, as the economy began to reopen and unemployment claims showed improvement. The Consumer Confidence Index rose 12.2 points from 85.9 to 98.1 in June, the largest monthly gain since November 2011. …Despite the overall improvement, consumer confidence still remained below pre-pandemic levels and the Present Situation Index suggested that economic conditions remained weak. Looking near-term, consumers are less pessimistic but not expecting a significant pickup in economy activity.

Read More

The luxury market is bouncing back

By Julia Falcon
Housing Wire
June 25, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States

With home price growth outpacing the overall housing market, it appears that luxury homes are bouncing back as homebuyers returned to the market in full force in May. According to realtor.com’s Luxury Housing Report released on Thursday, the luxury market actually outpaced the rest of the housing market in both price growth and views. Luxury home sellers re-entered the market with new listings for homes priced above $1 million, down just 15.1% year over year in May, compared to 57.8% in April. This means that luxury home new listings were still down, but to a lesser degree than the month prior. But, like the rest of the market, inadequate inventory is the biggest challenge for these homebuyers.

Read More

US Mortgage Activity Decelerates

By Litic Murali
NAHB – Eye on Housing
June 24, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States

The Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) latest Weekly Application shows a mild slowdown in purchase and refinancing activity from the previous week, on a seasonally adjusted basis. …Despite the dip, purchase mortgage applications are 18% higher on a year over year basis. The MBA cites the offsetting effects between the release of pent-up housing demand against the tight supply of housing as factors that may crimp future growth. Moreover, additional housing inventory is needed to give buyers more options. Of late, new home buyer preferences gravitated towards sales of homes not yet built.

Read More

Virus Impacts: Home Building Shifts to Less Population Dense Areas

By Litic Murali
NAHB – Eye on Housing
June 23, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States

The first quarter of 2020 witnessed a shift in home building towards less population-dense housing markets in the United States, a trend which was greatly hastened by the onset of COVID-19. While most states issued statewide stay-at-home orders with exemption for construction, some of the hardest-hit states had no exemptions for construction when the pandemic first hit. …As expected, some of the states which had the highest population-adjusted, COVID-19-associated deaths, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut also feature relatively lower permit numbers. At the same time, these states also have a larger share of multifamily markets than other states.

Read More

US homebuilders see strongest May sales in over a decade, but they have a big problem

By Diana Olick
CNBC News
June 23, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States

Sales of newly built homes jumped far more than expected, up nearly 13% annually, according to the U.S. Census. After slowing dramatically in March, as the coronavirus shut down the economy, they posted the strongest May pace since 2007, a recovery that surprised even the builders themselves. But housing starts were not nearly as strong, and builders are struggling to meet this new demand. …While sales of newly built, single-family homes were nearly 13% higher annually, single-family housing starts in May were close to 18% lower annually, and building permits, an indicator of future construction, were down about 10%.

Read More

Existing Home Sales Drop for a Third Month

By Fan-Yu Kuo
NAHB – Eye on Housing
June 22, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States

Existing home sales reported by the National Association of Realtors… fell for the third straight month in May. However, because existing sales are a reflection of closed contracts, sales likely reached a recession low point in the May data. Total existing home sales, which includes single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, dropped 9.7% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.91 million in May, the lowest level since October 2010. On a year-over-year basis, sales were 26.6% lower than a year ago. …Despite the steep monthly decline in sales, home prices remained strong. The May median sales price of all existing homes was $284,600, up 2.3% from a year ago.

Read More

The Housing Market Posted An Epic Rebound In May

By Meyers Research
PR Newswire
June 19, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States

Meyers Research… shows pending sales decreased year-over-year but rose month-over-month across the United States. The index is a leading residential real estate indicator based on the number of new home sales contracts signed across the country. The New Home PSI came in at 101.6 for May, representing a 5.2% decrease from May 2019. On a month-over-month basis, new home sales rose by 16.7% from April. …The best new home markets in May were concentrated in the South, led by Houston, Jacksonville, and Tampa. ….Builders focused on pivoting their price to better cater to first-time buyers over the past 24 months and that bet has paid off.

Read More

May Housing Starts Rebound; Have We Hit Bottom?

By John Greene
Forest2Market Blog
June 22, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States

After plunging two consecutive months to the lowest level since early 2015, US homebuilding appears to have bottomed and marginally reversed course in May. While the global economy is not yet put COVID-19 in the rearview mirror, there is reason for optimism as applications for home loans surged to an 11-year in mid-June. Privately-owned housing starts were up 4.3 percent in May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 974,000 units. Single-family starts increased 0.1 percent to a rate of 674,000 units; starts for the volatile multi-family housing segment jumped 15.0 percent to a rate of 299,000 units.

Read More

Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households

By Fan-Yu Kuo
NAHB – Eye on Housing
June 19, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States

The Federal Reserve Board recently released its Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households. …The report showed how homeownership is closely intertwined with a household’s finances. Though nearly two-third of adults owned their homes, homeownership rates varied by age, race and location. Homeownership rates generally tended to rise with age. The report revealed that 26 percent of 18-to-29-year-old owned their homes compared with 85 percent of people age 60 and older, as young adults were more likely to live with parents to save money.

Read More

Gain for Single-Family Permits Points to Building Growth

By Robert Dietz
NAHB – Eye on Housing
June 17, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States

Single-family housing starts were flat in May, albeit off an upwardly revised estimate for construction in April. …However, the turning point for the market was found in the permits data. Consistent with recent gains in the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index, single-family permits increased almost 12% in May. Total permits for single-family homes issued in 2020 on a year-to-date basis are 1.8% than the first five months of 2019. An increase in the pace of permits signals gains for single-family starts ahead. As an indication of how strong the start was for single-family construction in 2020, single-family starts on a year-to-date basis are down just 2.4% relative to the comparable 2019 totals.

Read More

Forest Industry Performance Tumbles in May

By Joe Clark
Forests2Market Blog
June 18, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States

US forest industry performance in April and May was recently reported by both the US government and the Institute for Supply Management. Total industrial production fell 11.2 percent in April (-15.0 percent YoY) for its largest monthly drop in the 101-year history of the index, as the pandemic led many factories to slow or suspend operations. …In the forest products sector, index performance included:

  • Pulp, Paper & Allied Products: +0.7 percent (-0.7 percent YoY)
  • Lumber & Wood Products: -1.9 percent (-1.0 percent YoY)
  • Softwood Lumber: -11.2 percent (-0.7 percent YoY)
  • Wood Fiber: +0.3 percent (-1.6 percent YoY)

Read More

US Builder Confidence Surges in June

By Robert Dietz
NAHB – Eye on Housing
June 16, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States

In a sign that housing stands poised to lead a post-pandemic economic recovery, builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes jumped 21 points to 58 in June, according to the latest National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI). Any reading above 50 indicates a positive market. As the nation reopens, housing is well-positioned to lead the economy forward. Inventory is tight, mortgage applications are increasing, interest rates are low and confidence is rising. …The HMI index gauging current sales conditions jumped 21 points to 63, the component measuring sales expectations in the next six months surged 22 points to 68 and the measure charting traffic of prospective buyers vaulted 22 points to 43.

Read More

Housing Activity Index Reaches All-Time High in May, Indicating Homebuilding Will Soon Rebound from Recession

By LegalShield Law Index
Business Wire
June 11, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States

A suite of leading indicators of the economic and financial status of U.S. households and small businesses, saw its Housing Activity Index reach an all-time high, suggesting that homebuilding may recover more quickly than other sectors of the economy from the coronavirus-induced shutdown. A separate Real Estate Index tracking home sales likewise improved in May, suggesting that existing home sales may improve over the next three to six months. …“Our two main real estate sub-indices snapped back from April’s lows, indicating that while the U.S. economy may take months or years to fully recover from the COVID-19 recession, a ‘V-shaped’ recovery in residential homebuilding is increasingly likely”.

Read More

Housing Is Hot With the Economy in the Deep Freeze

By Conor Sen
BNN Bloomberg
June 15, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States

The biggest reason we’re seeing home-price growth accelerating in the middle of a pandemic is that the disruption to the supply of housing is persisting longer than the disruption to demand — that is, would-be buyers. …Part of the reason for the quick rebound in demand is surely the decline in interest rates on mortgages to all-time lows. But as is always the case in the housing market, supply doesn’t respond as quickly as demand. …Even as demand rebounds, homebuilders may be slow to acquire new construction lots and might hold back on increasing production after getting the scare they did in March and April. …To the extent home prices rose too high because of supply distortions, we should see home prices leveling off or even declining. But it’s not clear that this will be a 2020 story. 

Read More

Building Materials Prices Move Higher in May

By Davi Logan
NAHB – Eye on Housing
June 11, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States

Prices paid for goods used in residential construction increased 0.6% in May according to the latest Producer Price Index (PPI) report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. May marks only the fourth monthly increase in the past 12 months in the price index for residential construction inputs. The index has declined 4.8% year-to-date, nearly four times the magnitude of the prior record for a May YTD decrease (-1.3% in 2009). …Prices paid for gypsum products climbed 1.5% in May after decreasing 1.3% in April. …The 3.1% increase in softwood lumber prices is in stark contrast to the 10.8% decline in April and is the third monthly increase over the past four months.

Read More

Home Purchasing Climbs for Eighth Straight Week

By Litic Murali
NAHB – Eye on Housing
June 10, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States

The Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Application Survey showed an increase in its benchmark index for the week ending on June 5 by 9.3% from the previous week. Refinancing activity showed a sharp turnaround this week and posted an 11.4% gain. Home purchasing continued its climb, posting gains for the eighth straight week, increasing from the previous week by 5.3%. …Meanwhile, MBA’s 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rate inched up one basis point from the record low reached last week of 3.37%. This suggests a cautionary stance among many lenders as the economy prepares for a relatively more V-shaped recovery from the COVID-19-induced slump.

Read More

Federal Reserve: Accomodative Monetary Policy Will Continue for Years

By Robert Dietz
NAHB – Eye on Housing
June 10, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States

The Federal Reserve held the federal funds rate at the current 0% to 0.25% range as it continues… its quantitative easing policy, which is helping to support low mortgage interest rates and housing demand. Home building, and housing in general, will be a leading element of the recovery, as foreshadowed by two months of gains for mortgage applications and better than expected newly-built home sales. …The Fed is projecting a 6.5% decline for GDP for 2020… with growth for that year coming in at a 5% rate. …The Fed’s projections indicate an effective zero federal funds rate through 2022, but indicated that the long-run rate should return to 2.5% (beyond 2022). 

Read More

10% more Southern California homes in escrow, 7th consecutive sales gain

By Jonathan Lansner
The Orange County Register
June 13, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States, US West

Southern California homebuying rose for the seventh straight week as house hunters put 10.3% more homes into escrow. Still, it’s a buying pace 3.1% below a year ago. Zillow’s weekly report on activity from brokers’ listing services in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties shows the housing market rebounding from economic turmoil created by “stay at home” orders designed to slow a pandemic’s spread. With 3,555 existing homes put into escrow in the week ended June 6 — buying is up 331 in a week but down 115 in a year. …Fewer restrictions on business, including home sales, plus low mortgage rates are putting owners and house hunters in a selling mood.

Read More

How Has COVID-19 Impacted the Pacific Northwest Forest Sector?

By Gordon Culbertson
Forest2Market Blog
June 15, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States, US West

In the Pacific Northwest, the forest products industry has rebounded somewhat sooner than most believed. Lumber demand has surged in recent weeks, log prices are steady, and there is guarded optimism across the board now. There is indeed regional demand for high-quality PNW logs; although prices in March and April trended lower than they were pre-pandemic, there are indications that prices are now strengthening. …Despite the wild volatility in lumber prices, domestic log prices have yet to react too significantly. …Domestic and export log prices will demonstrate less volatility, but I also expect to see prices for both products increase and settle in the very near term.

Read More

Housing is hot with the economy in the deep freeze

By Conor Sen
The Indiana Gazette
June 18, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: US East, United States

No matter how you look at it, the economic fallout from the coronavirus is going to be brutal. …In ordinary times, and without any policy response from government, a blow of this magnitude should weaken the housing market.Yet, what we’re starting to see is the very opposite. For various reasons, the supply of homes on the market continues to fall to record lows and home prices are, if anything, accelerating. …The biggest reason we’re seeing home-price growth accelerating in the middle of a pandemic is that the disruption to the supply of housing is persisting longer than the disruption to demand — that is, would-be buyers.

Read More

International wood fiber prices decline

The American Journal of Transportation
June 26, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: International

Wood fiber costs fell for many hardwood pulp-producing countries worldwide in the 1Q/20. The biggest declines were seen in the US South, Russia, and Latin America, where hardwood pulplog prices were down between 5 and 10 percent from the 4Q/19. …The Softwood Fiber Price Index also declined last year. …In the 1Q/20, the Index was 5.6% lower than in the same quarter in 2019. The biggest price declines came in Central Europe, Latin America, and Oceania, while on the contrary there were actually small increases in prices for softwood fiber in the US South, Eastern Canada, and Sweden. Pulpmills in Austria, Germany, and France have seen their wood fiber costs decline quite substantially in the past year.

Read More

China Home Prices Up Most in Seven Months as Economy Reopens

Bloomberg News
June 15, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: International

China’s home prices rose at the fastest pace in seven months in May, as the property market continues its rapid recovery from the coronavirus shutdowns. New-home prices in 70 major cities, excluding state-subsidized housing, increased 0.49% last month, National Bureau of Statistics data released Monday showed. That’s up from a 0.42% gain in April. Values in the secondary market, which is largely free from government intervention, gained 0.24%, also the most in seven months. Key Insights Interest in property is rekindling as China returns to business as usual, with prices rising across small, medium and large cities. …Even so, analysts are split on the outlook for the rest of the year.

Read More