Lumber prices have taken an unseasonal price spike as U.S. wholesalers and retailers start buying well ahead of the expected construction season next year.
Spurred by low inventories, strong apartment construction and a surprise jump in building permits in the United States, the price of spruce, pine and fir construction lumber closed the week at $240 US a thousand board feet, a $22 jump from the week before when it was at $218 US.
The jump is being viewed by B.C. lumber companies as one of the first pieces of positive news out of the U.S. in five years of dismal lumber pricing, said Keta Kosman, publisher of the lumber research journal Madison’s Lumber Reporter.
Apartment construction is on the rise in the U.S., she said, fuelled by the need of so many people who have lost their homes to find an apartment to rent.
Further, October building permits, an indicator of future construction, came in at a seasonally-adjusted rate of 653,000 units, a 10.9 per cent increase over the month before. Analysts expected starts to come in at 608,000