“To say that this year in the lumber and panel markets is unprecedented, would be an understatement.” That comment from Todd Hixson, division manager of lumber and structural panels at Do it Best Corp. effectively summarized the sentiments LBM Industry Update, held Friday, May 17, during the co-op’s Spring Market in Indianapolis (see more photos here).
Mike Ter Molen, sales manager, moderated the lunchtime panel that featured Hixson plus Jean Fahy, division manager of building material sales, Joe Corah, division manager of building material purchasing, and Josh Ratcliff, lumber sales and operations manager. The panel delivered an informative and insightful update into the trends that Do it Best is seeing in the LBM markets—to help members plan and purchase more effectively.
Other key insights include:
- “The spring building season is off to a very late start, due to heavy rains and a persistent winter.”
- “The latest housing data is out, and it shows that multi-family starts are up, but single-family starts are down. Plus, new homes are trending smaller, requiring less lumber, panels, and other materials.”
- “Building materials in general haven’t had the huge price spikes that lumber and panels have experienced.”
- “Besides the weather, which is proving once again to be a huge factor, one of the biggest challenges facing the building materials market is consolidation.”
- “The late start to building really showed in price erosion in the drywall market. In many cases, price increases that hit at the start of the year were dialed back, and dealers were paying the same as 2018.”
- The lunch also included a railroad freight update. In order to maximize their capabilities, railroads are moving toward Precision Scheduled Railroading (PSR), which essentially means doing more with less.