WBS May Market Update

Aug 19, 2014

Building activity through the month of May remained steady, but was still below projections for the year. Reports across the country are mixed, many attributing the lag to hesitation from homebuyers and builders alike. Various factors, detailed below, are contributing to the reluctance and strain the industry is feeling as we "wait for the other shoe to drop." Despite a slow start to the year, we are proud to report there are plenty of exciting advancements occurring within WBS, including renovations at our new Fond du Lac location and the release of our first mobile app! Read it all in this Market Update and feel welcome to contact your WBS Sales Representative with any questions.

Prices Remain Steady

Prices Remain SteadyCost of framing materials remained steady through May. A minimal fluctuation has shown industry activity has plateaued--disappointing projections for growth this summer. While reports across the nation about costs and activity are mixed, many agree things just aren't picking up as soon as expected. According to Random Lengths, some attribute this delay to hesitation from homebuyers due to higher interest rates, tightened lending standards and weak economic growth overall. A lack of skilled workers is also a contributing factor.

Advanced Wood Materials: The Future of Lumber?

The long-term future of the wood industry is getting a boost after the announcement of a recently established U.S. Government initiative. The Department of Agriculture is sponsoring a $1 million project to promote the use of advanced wood materials by training architects, engineers and builders to use such materials for plans in multi-story buildings. Advanced wood materials encompass many innovative products including cross-laminated timber (CLT) used most in the construction of multi-story projects for walls and floors. The U.S. has begun a partnership with an Austrian firm to produce CLT panels in the future, but until then the project will need to overcome hurdles, such as resistance from steel and concrete interests.

The Ripple Effect of Labor Shortages

A shortage of skilled construction workers is making an impact on the housing industry, according to Random Lengths reports. Many believe the labor shortage is due to the Great Recession. When housing crashed, skilled workers moved to the oil fields or other more demanding industries. Many Mexican workers returned to their home country and have not returned. The shortage has potential for a serious ripple effect: Under-staffed builders are extending timelines to construct new homes, therefore, a smaller quantity of homes are being built over time, resulting in less demand for materials, and lastly, fewer homes are available for purchase. Industry observers are concerned about the decline in training programs over the past few years and are urging government officials to help schools and construction companies with training programs to fill the current need and in anticipation of replacing retiring construction workers.

WBS App to be Released Next Month

In an effort to provide increased convenience and ease, WBS has developed a mobile app for our customers! The app is free, easy-to-use and can help you track deliveries, check invoices, sign up for events, plus, view and share promotions. The delivery system provides real-time GPS tracking and sends updates to help you plan your day. Plus, you'll get more info about deliveries, including pictures of your orders, delay notifications and the ability to search and filter your order history and much more. Final testing is expected to wrap up this month, making the app available for download in early July.

Update: New Location Renovations

We are currently making renovations to our newest location, the Fond du Lac Distribution Center at N3280 Oak Center Road in Oakfield. As we renovate the space, please note that we will remain open and fully operational. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work through the remodel scheduled to be complete by end of June.