November 2014 – Market Update

By Paul Rogers,

A modest rally in early October, spurred by a sudden uptick in demand, ended several weeks of flat and softening prices and brought some life to the lumber market for the Fall season. Traders advised dealers to cover their needs through November (as the outtake of lumber was quickly clearing out available inventories) and lead times were extending, once again, beyond normal time frames. Overall, sales were good for all in the supply chain, but most especially for those who were supplying the high-end home and commercial building sectors. There was confidence throughout the industry that the October sales momentum would carry through into November and so pricing has remained firm (and is expected to remain so) for the remainder of the month. 

Truth in advertising”, as mandated by the Federal Trade Commission, requires that advertisements not make misleading, false or deceptive claims. In the building materials industry, and particularly with commodity products, there are few advertisements to guide the consumer toward the benefits of the product and even less that give you a direct comparison of similar items. Much of the knowledge gained about the better performing products is from personal experience or adopted from long-standing regional preferences. Most dealers are upfront with the products that they are selling but, then again, there are ones that operate by grouping several options into one description or omitting key brand names in an attempt to garner sales based on price point alone. We happen to deal with products that can be difficult to compare and, unless you are well-familiar with the acronyms, mill or brand names, you may not be getting what you think you are. In respect to this, you will often see descriptions on dealer quotes that indicate a variety of options (IE: SPF/DF/HF, for Spruce-Pine-Fir, Douglas Fir, and Hem Fir) or do not indicate a specific mill (such as with cedar shingles, “Best, Maibec”) or eliminate the manufacturer’s name altogether (“PVC trim” instead of “Azek PVC Trim”). In each of these examples, the subtle differences in descriptions can have a very profound difference in quality and price and, most importantly, have a negative impact on your project. Unfortunately, the varieties and omissions are meant to mislead the buyer as the price is what grabs all the attention. Don’t be misled by these dupes of descriptions: quality drives the price in this industry and if you see a big difference in pricing between quotes, be sure to confirm what you will actually be getting for your order so that you have no surprises on the job site.

We can assure you that we work very hard to be upfront and honest about our products, and practice no tricks of deceit. Although we do have several items that share different species or mills, we can assure you that they are comparable stock, in both price and quality, and are meant only to give us a ways and means to buy the best quality stock at the best market price point. As always, we stand behind our products 110%, and only want to sell you products that assure customer satisfaction through quality, performance and price.

We appreciate your business, and are more than happy to help you decipher the differences that you may see from a competitive quote. Please be sure to contact your lumber sales person should you have any questions or concerns regarding your project, and thank you very much for your business!

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