Lumber prices have finally returned to earth (about 70% lower than at their peak earlier this year), which certainly is a good sign for folks building a home or doing remodeling projects. However, as we have discussed here previously, there is somewhat of a disconnect between lumber prices and what the local mills are paying for logs. Log yard inventory is the main factor that influences log prices in our area, although lumber prices do have an impact. So even though national lumber prices tripled earlier in 2021, we mostly experienced only a modest change in Inland Northwest log prices. As is often the case, cedar is the exception. There remains more competition among mills for a limited supply of this species, so prices have remained strong.
With that being said, log inventories continue to be high at many regional sawmills. Although the recent logging restrictions related to the wildfire situation have mills a little nervous about log flow in the short term. Considering all factors, with the exception of ponderosa pine, log prices have generally lowered over the last few months.
Mike Wolcott, ACF, Certified Forester