Lumber prices to stay high, expert says

A market watcher predicts the high-flying price of lumber could continue for some time yet.

In a podcast hosted by Canadian Forest Industries, Keta Kosman, owner of Madison's Lumber Reporter, says she is expecting the pace to continue for as much as the next couple of years - and not just because the pandemic sparked a boom in the repair and remodeling market. In 2020, millennials made up the largest cohort of first-time buyers for the first time, Kosman notes.

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"So, we're now having a large demographic entering the U.S. housing market that has nothing to do with the pandemic. And that's 25 years' worth of people. So, it's very positive," she said. "Definitely through this year, there will not be a slowdown, and potentially also through 2022."

As of Feb. 12, the benchmark price for kiln dried western spruce, pine and fir 2x4s, #2 and better, stood at US $992 per thousand board feet, according to a posting on the Maidson's website. In contrast, the price was US $346 as of January 2019 when . 

In contrast, the price was US $346 as of January 2019 when Canfor announced curtailments at three B.C. sawmills.

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