September 2015 Whole House Commodity Index

September 2015 Whole House Graph


by Don Magruder, CEO of RoMac Building Supply

I guess the biggest takeaway from the last 30 days is that not much has changed to add life to a sagging commodity market. Commodities remain under pressure from lackluster demand, and it is becoming more evident that hurricane season offers little opportunity for increased sales. In fact, roofing manufacturers have started offering special deals because the chance of a roof-ripping hurricane in 2015 is dwindling fast.

The Ro-Mac Lumber & Supply, Inc. Whole House Commodity Index (Index) for September declined 0.9% to $29,574.11, as most lumber items pushed lower and special prices surfaced for roofing products.  The biggest change in the Index came via the Florida Building Code.  Felt now has to be ASTM D226, and that added about $6 per roll in cost.

Below are the other notable movers in the Index:

  • Wire mesh dropped 3.3% and rebar was down 5.1% due to lower demand and the plunge in steel pricing.
  • CDX pine added 5.2% with OSB sheathing matching it at 5.3%. These products were the only gainers in the Index, and it appears to just be a clawback in pricing from a bottom—no real trend.
  • Narrow pine was down a little more than a percent while 2×6 dropped 5.0% and 2×12 eased off 10.0%.
  • Spruce items dropped 5.0-8.0% depending on size and type.
  • Shingle pricing dropped 3.0% as deals were to be made.
  • It appears uncertainty is creeping back into the market as the third quarter ends. Housing needs a quick start to the fourth quarter, or it could be a long, hard winter. At this point, there appears to be little impetus for the markets to increase in price. Canfor announced a mill closing last week, and manufacturers throwing in the towel could lead to some stabilization of pricing. Builders should keep a close eye on pricing as winter approaches. Like cheap gas prices—don’t get used to them and don’t expect them to last.

The Ro-Mac Lumber & Supply, Inc. Whole House Commodity Index is based on wholesale costs of the base components to build a 2,200 square foot wood frame home with a concrete stem wall in Central Florida.  The Index includes foundation, metal, concrete, block, stucco, cement, wood framing, siding, sheathings, trusses, roofing, drywall, insulation, windows, doors, trim, garage doors, and most building hardware.  It does not include décor, electrical, plumbing, mechanical, landscaping, or labor.  Because the Index uses current wholesale costs, this should be a strong indicator of the direction of building prices for the next 30-45 days.

Don Magruder is the Chief Executive Officer of Ro-Mac Lumber & Supply, Inc. in Central Florida. Go to to sign-up for the Index and other free market reports. To sign-up for this information via email, contact Rebecca Ballash at