Lumber prices are falling, but builders still feel the pinch

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After a tumultuous year for lumber prices and the homebuilding industry, a light has finally emerged at the end of the tunnel. But builders aren’t out of the woods quite yet.

Lumber prices, a source of builder and construction company angst for approximately 15 months, are officially falling, as the price that sawmills charge distributors for cut lumber is down for the eighth consecutive week.

Digging into the numbers, the cash market price for lumber fell to $485 per thousand board feet for the week ending July 23 — a $90 fall in one week, and down nearly 70% from an all-time high of $1,670.50 in May. Futures ended at $521.40 per thousand board feet by Wednesday of this week, and currently sit around $600 per thousand board feet.

In June alone, lumber futures fell more than 40%, according to the National Association of Homebuilders.

And prices could be even lower if not for wildfires in British Columbia and the subsequent closing of sawmills at Canfor, North America’s second-largest lumber producer.

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