Just as I predicted last month, the price increases from October and November did not seem sustainable, and they were not. The Ro-Mac Lumber & Supply, Inc. Wood Commodity Index (Index) for Central Florida in December declined 3.7 percent to $290.27 per thousand. It was a mixed result, as those items which did not go down in price struggled to hold onto gains, while those retreating did so with few obstacles.
The dimensional lumber portion of the Index dropped 1.9 percent, as spruce gave back some of its gains from the prior months. Stud pricing took the hardest hit with most down nearly $20, and with 2x4 spruce dimensional flat to down in the single digits. $10 to $20 per thousand increases were the range for most 2x12 pine, as wide widths gained an advantage in the supply equation.
The sheathing markets are still split with OSB sheathing pricing in full retreat while CDX pine plywood pricing is moving upward in the 1.5 to 2.5 percent range. Oddly, just a few months ago, the direction of each was opposite. 7/16” OSB gave back almost 60 cents per sheet while 1/2” 4-Ply CDX pine plywood added 32 cents. Manufacturers are really struggling to find the supply balance in the market.
The weather through mid-December has been much warmer than usual. This typically extends the building season in the northern areas, keeping prices up. The better weather appears to be a small catalyst this year, and it may foretell even worsening housing demand as winter begins to grip. There is little evidence that pricing will have much momentum upward as the New Year begins.
Thank you for reading the Ro-Mac Lumber & Supply, Inc. Lumber and Commodity Report. I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and most prosperous New Year.
Don Magruder is the Chief Executive Officer of Ro-Mac Lumber & Supply, Inc. in Central Florida (www.romaclumber.com), and he is a former President of the Southeast Mississippi Home Builders Association, and past Associate Vice President of the Home Builders Association of Lake County. To contact Magruder, email him at