Rising Softwood Lumber Costs Lead Building Materials Prices Higher in June

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Prices paid for goods used in residential construction increased 1.9% in June (not seasonally adjusted) according to the latest Producer Price Index (PPI) report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It is the second consecutive monthly increase since the index declined three months straight by a total 5.4%.

The index has decreased 3.0% year-to-date (YTD), five times the magnitude of the prior record for a June YTD decrease (-0.6% in 2009). Prices paid for goods used in residential construction have only fallen four times between January and June since 2000.

The increase in prices paid for goods used in residential construction was led by a 12.9% increase in softwood lumber prices. Since decreasing 10.8% in April, softwood lumber prices have risen 16.5% and are now at the highest level since July 2018—the peak of the early- to mid-2018 runup. Although the YTD percentage increase in prices paid for softwood lumber is roughly two-thirds of the increase seen over the same period in 2018, timing of PPI data collection suggests that a recent, sharp advance in prices will be captured in the July PPI report.

Prices paid for gypsum products climbed 0.6% in June after increasing 1.5% in May (seasonally adjusted). The price index for gypsum products has risen 0.8% over the past 12 months and is 7.7% lower than the most recent peak reached in March 2018.

Even after the monthly increase, gypsum product prices have declined 2.5% YTD. Prices fell by 3.9% over the same period in 2019 and are just 4.4% higher than they were to start 2017.

Nationally, prices paid for ready-mix concrete (RMC) advanced 0.1% in June (seasonally adjusted) after no change in May.

Prices rose in the Northeast and West regions by 0.6% and 4.5%, respectively, while prices paid in the Midwest (-0.4%) and South (-2.3%) decreased month-over-month.

Other changes in indexes relevant to home building and infrastructure are shown below.



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