The Eugene Register Guard reported lay offs and extended shutdowns for area lumber mills. They cited Weyhaueser, Swanson Group and Southport Lumber as companies that will be decreasing production, at least temporarily.
The culprit is a historic downturn in lumber consumption, expected in 2009 to be about 50% of its peak in 2005, of 64 billion board feet. Low demand, coupled with near historic lows for lumber prices will be challenging for our local timber industry.
The recent composite price for framing lumber price was $213/MBF. A board foot is the equivalent of a 2″ x 6″ or 1″ x 12″ that is 1 foot long. A 10′ long 2″ x 6″ would contain 10 board feet, and cost about $2.13, if I got my math right. The average house of 2K square feet will use 8 board feet of lumber per finished foot of floor area. So, 16MBF at a cost of $3,400 for framing lumber.
Most wood consumption is used in building, and housing starts are way off. Most of our local builders are selling off their inventory and aren’t starting new at the moment. If you’re wanting to have a house built, now is a great time to do so.