Half of Lumber Dealers Now Sit on Excess Inventory in the U.S.

(Bloomberg) — Almost half of U.S. lumber dealers and manufacturers reported excess inventories last month, a sharp turnround from a few months ago, when supplies ran so low they sparked price surges.

In July, 49% of building-material dealers and manufacturers said they had excess lumber capacity, while none described their levels as “very tight,” in a survey by John Burns Real Estate Consulting LLC. Back in April, 40% said their wood inventories were “very tight.”

Lumber prices have come down from records in May, when sawmills were caught off guard with low inventories amid a surge in home building and renovation. Producers have since increased output, and a shortage of other building supplies such as siding and windows has slowed the pace of construction.

In the John Burns Real Estate Consulting survey, about 34% of the respondents said they had slightly low or very tight inventories in July.

Lumber futures are now 70% below their peak and trading at about $500 per thousand board feet.

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William Murphy

William Murphy

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