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  • Writer's pictureDon Magruder

April 2024 Lumber & Commodity Report

By Don Magruder

The RoMac Building Supply Wood Commodity Index for April 2024 increased 9.2 percent to $556.92 per thousand from last month, and that follows an increase from March of 9.9 percent.  OSB sheathing has been a primary driver which is starting to pull CDX plywood upward, but oddly, the dimensional lumber pricing settled as demand failed to heat up with the spring weather.  

The sheathing portion of the Index increased 17.7 percent to $628.55 per thousand with OSB sheathing adding $120 per thousand or almost 25 percent.  On average the cost of OSB increased $3.84 per sheet in the last 30 days, and it appears the mills are totally in charge.  Because of the increases in OSB, the CDX plywood market showed strength by adding almost $30 per thousand, or about 5 percent.  Most thicknesses added almost $1 per sheet.  

Dimensional lumber was a totally different pricing story as this portion of the Index retreated 3.5 percent or $16.59 per thousand to $461.02.  Spruce studs gave back $5 to $10 per thousand or less than 2 percent while dimensional 2x4 and 2x6 spruce printed downward 3 percent on average.  The overall demand equation for spruce was muted.  2x12 pine printed down $45 to $80 per thousand except for 2x12-16 pine which was up 8.1 percent. The demand for 16-foot lengths indicates that framing levels may be improving. Pine was down $50 per thousand as mills searched for buyers and the spring push by treaters has failed to materialize in higher pricing.  

The current housing market is sluggish as builders and homebuyers have waited patiently for interest rate reductions which have not materialized.  Little doubt had the Federal Reserve reduced interest rates this spring, the demand equation would have improved.  As builders and homebuyers decided to proceed with projects at higher interest rates and the crush from the overall housing market shortage weighs on the county, builders should expect steady improvement in the market.  A late-year interest rate cut could provide the spark the housing market needs to start a new boom cycle.  

Expectations are for pricing to remain volatile as the market improves and problems with trucking and labor persist.   The RoMac Wood Commodity Index is a weighted lumber and sheathing composite based on usage in Central Florida. By using wholesale pricing, the Index is a good indicator of the pricing direction for the next 30 days.

Don Magruder is the Chief Executive Officer of RoMac Building Supply in Central Florida, he is a former president of the Southeast Mississippi Home Builders Association and a past Associate Vice President of the Home Builders Association of Lake County.

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