WBS March Market Update

Apr 16, 2014

The cold persists, as we all wait patiently (although it’s frustrating) for temperatures to rise and activity to emerge. Random Lengths referred to the second quarter of 2014 as a “Wild Card” for good reason. It’s uncertain how the combination of the recession rebound and harsh winter will affect the market from transportation, to employment, inventory, distribution and many other areas. While we wait for spring to arrive – and industry predictions to become clear – we are thankful prices have not shifted too dramatically. Work with your WBS sales associate to best determine your buying strategy in anticipation of the spring boom.

Cost of Housing

The industry lag we normally experience through the winter months is persisting into spring due in part to record low temperatures. Therefore, prices remain stagnant, slightly below normal for this time of year, but only 0.6% lower than February 2014. While prices are lower than they were in March of 2013, it’s important to remember costs of framing materials are still significantly higher than during the recession, a result of increased activity and demand. Overall, while prices are slightly lower than last year at this time, they remain higher than costs from 2007 – 2012.

Costs Come Down on Green Fir 2x10

The Green Fir 2x10 spiked to a premium much higher than historical norms in fall of 2013, reaching its highest level in nine years, Green Fir 2x10 was priced well over Green Fir 2x4 and showed the largest price spread between the two since 1995, according to Random Lengths. Sudden demand late last year spurred a frenzy of mill production, resulting in excess inventory and more stabilized prices in early 2014. The spike can most likely be attributed to a new building code that placed requirements on floor I-joists used over unfinished basements, with an exception for 2x10s or larger dimensions. This new fire code and higher demand for multifamily housing together caused the price gap to widen momentarily.

Building Trend: Walkability

BuilderOnline recently reported, “Smart builders care about walkability.” The demand for walkability, lead by millennials, is based on substantial motives outside of simply wanting to live a “vibrant city life” including health, community, the environment, demographics and economics. As the newer generations of young adults flock to the cities, builders are forced to ask themselves, “Where will that leave the inhabited homes and neighborhoods traditionally preferred by the baby boomers?” Builders are now challenged to create suburban neighborhoods and homes with increased value like streetscape variety, mature trees, privacy, wider sidewalks and more. Read the full article on