Missoulian: Lumber prices have timber mills cheering, but home builders passing cost to buyers
Just as there are two sides to every coin, the relatively high and stable prices for lumber over the past year have the Montana wood products industry happy — but home builders are frustrated because they have to pass on those costs to consumers in the midst of already lofty housing prices.
Todd Morgan, the director of Forest Industry Research at the University of Montana’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research, said lumber production fell in Montana from 506 million board-feet in 2016 to 481 million board-feet in 2017. But tight supply coupled with high demand kept prices up.
“Lumber prices right now are really high,” he said. “They went up at the beginning of 2017 and stayed consistently high. It’s a combination of a gradual increase in new home construction, which helped create more demand ,and fires through the West that restricted the supply of logs.”…
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