Lumber Prices Slump With Rising Interest Rates

by Alfred Newman

Lumber prices have come dramatically down in a new sign of how rising interest rates are deflating markets that boomed during the pandemic. 

Wood prices were a leading indicator of the supply-chain problems and inflation that followed pandemic lockdowns. Prices shot up in the summer of 2020 as cooped-up Americans remodeled en masse and demand for suburban houses soared. By last spring, lumber cost more than twice the prepandemic high. Now, two-by-four prices are flashing caution. 

Lumber futures for July delivery ended Friday at $695.10 per thousand board feet, down 52% from a high in early March. On-the-spot wood prices have plunged, too. Pricing service Random Lengths said Friday that its framing composite index, which tracks cash sales, fell about 12% last week to end at $794. That is down from $1,334 in March, just before the Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the first time since 2018. 

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