Hurricanes’ Impact on Softwood Lumber Still Unknown

Sept. 13, 2017

The cost of hurricanes Irma and Harvey are still being tallied but is projected to be somewhere in the billions of dollars. This also includes the storms’ affect on softwood lumber prices.

Additional investigation is needed to fully understand the impact, short and long term, on the supply and demand of softwood lumber, said National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Economist David Logan according to a release.

There are other items to consider besides the storms. “The wildfire outlook is uncertain at this point, and duty rates on Canadian lumber are being reevaluated and will not be finalized until mid-November,” added Logan.

Historically speaking, lumber prices have increased after a natural disaster, but the price increases were generally concentrated within the affected region, said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. “Across the nation, there typically is no persistent impact [on lumber prices] over the medium term,” Dietz said in the release. “One of the reasons is that construction activity during the rebuilding process will oftentimes partially offset the decreased demand for lumber in new-home construction,” he explained.

Meanwhile, roofing materials across the country could see price increases—reaching 10% or higher. Asphalt shingles are a byproduct of crude oil and will likely have a price increase. Crude oil has already jumped 6% since Harvey made landfall.

– Michael Miller, editorial associate

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