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US and Canada Timber and Wood Product Price and Market Report
16 – 30th Apr 2024

Report from North America

 US Senators introduce Mass Timber Bill
Oregon US Senator Jeff Merkley and Idaho’s US Senator
James Risch announced the introduction of the bipartisan
Mass Timber Federal Buildings Act to promote the
utilization of mass timber in federal building projects and
military construction.

The Jeff Merkley website says “The Mass Timber Federal
Buildings Act would create an incentive for the use of
mass timber building materials by providing a preference
in federal building contracts for mass timber products.
This will give mass timber companies the ability to
compete for federal construction, renovation, or
acquisition of public buildings and for military

The bill creates a two-tier contracting preference for mass
timber. The first tier preference applies to mass timber that
is made within the U.S. and responsibly sourced from
state, federal, private, and Tribal forestlands. The second
tier, which is optional, applies to mass timber products that
are sourced from restoration practices, fire mitigation
projects, and/or underserved forest owners. Additionally,
this bill contains a reporting requirement for a whole
building lifecycle assessment. The results of this
assessment will help provide additional evidence of the
carbon sequestration benefits of mass timber buildings.

The Mass Timber Federal Buildings Act is endorsed by
the American Wood Council, Sustainable Northwest,
American Forest Resource Council, Forest Landowners
Association, National Alliance of Forest Owners (NAFO),
Southeastern Lumber Manufacturers
Association, Weyerhaeuser, Freres Engineered Wood,
Oregon Forest Industries Council, and Oregon Mass
Timber Coalition, which includes the Port of Portland,
Oregon Department of Forestry, Business Oregon,
University of Oregon, Oregon State University, TallWood
Design Institute, and Oregon Department of Land
Conservation and Development”.


Housing starts weakened in March
Housing starts in the US slid to a seasonally adjusted
annual rate of 1.32 million in March, down close to 15%
from the month prior. Both single-family and multifamily
starts pulled back—for different reasons. Construction
stalled most significantly in large multifamily buildings,
with the measure sinking to its lowest level since April

The drop is the latest in an extended pullback after large
multifamily starts surged in 2022 to the highest level since

Single-family starts, meanwhile, dropped roughly 12%
from the month prior. This level is lower than February’s
surge but remains well above last year’s levels. However,
it is anticipated builders will continue to add more single-
family homes over the course of the year but rising
mortgage rates could weigh on buyers in the short-term.
Mortgage rate surveys published by Mortgage News Daily
have climbed more than half a percentage point since the
end of March as Treasury yields have risen.

The National Association of Home Builders’ April
measure of home-builder sentiment stalled in April after
four straight months of gains. Builders are still mildly
optimistic, according to the index reading but a
subcomponent, measuring traffic of prospective buyers,
remains weak and respondents’ expectations for sales of
single-family homes in the next six months dropped

Canadian housing starts fell by 7% in March from the
previous month, Canadian Mortgage and Housing
Corporation (CMHC) data showed. The seasonally
adjusted annualized rate of housing starts declined to
242,195 units from a revised 260,047 units in February,
the CMHC said.


Home sales slip as prices reach a record March high
Sales of previously owned homes in the United States fell
in March as home prices climbed reflecting the persistent
pain of American’s affordability woes.

Existing home sales, which make up the majority of the
housing market, fell 4.3% in March to a seasonally
adjusted annual rate of 4.19 million, the National
Association of Realtors reported. Sales fell across the
country except in the Northeast region which saw an
increase for the first time since November.

Meanwhile, the median price of an existing home was
US$393,500 in March, an increase of 4.8% from a year
earlier. That was the highest March price on record. Rising
home prices coupled with mortgage rates being stuck at
elevated levels means Americans are still dealing with a
tough housing market.

Home sales are up from the decade-lows seen last fall but
they might not rise meaningfully higher as the Federal
Reserve signals that it won’t cut interest rates anytime

The National Association of Realtors Chief Economist,
Lawrence Yun, said “Though rebounding from cyclical
lows, home sales are stuck because interest rates have not
made any major moves adding, There are nearly 6 million
more jobs now compared to pre-Covid highs which
suggests more aspiring homebuyers exist in the market.”

Existing-home sales in the Northeast climbed 4.2% from
February to an annual rate of 500,000 in March ending a
four-month streak where sales in the Northeast registered
480,000 units. Compared to March 2023, home sales were
down 3.8%. In the Midwest, existing-home sales retracted
1.9% from one month ago to an annual rate of 1.01 million
in March, down 1.0% from the prior year.

Existing-home sales in the South fell 5.9% from February
to an annual rate of 1.9 million in March, down 5.0% from
one year before. In the West, existing-home sales slumped
8.2% from a month ago to an annual rate of 780,000 in
March, a decline of 3.7% from the previous year.


US employers added 303,000 jobs in March, surging
past forecasts

US employers added 303,000 jobs in March far surpassing
economists' predictions and signaling the labour market
remains strong. The unemployment rate fell to 3.8% from
3.9% the month before. The latest data, which continues
the trend of strong hiring earlier this year, is likely to play
into the Federal Reserve's decision on whether to cut its
benchmark interest rate this year and by how much.

Lisa Sturtevant, Chief Economist at Bright MLS has said
"some had been hoping that the Federal Reserve would cut
interest rates at its June meeting. However, with today's
strong jobs report it is all but certain that the first rate cut
won't be before July. As a result, mortgage rates are likely
going to stay elevated for a while longer."


Consumer sentiment falls as outlook for inflation

Consumer sentiment on the US economy has ticked down
but remains near a recent high with Americans' outlook
largely unchanged this year. The University of Michigan’s
consumer sentiment index slipped to 77.9 in April, down
from March's figure of 79.4. Sentiment is about halfway
between its all-time low reached in June 2022 when
inflation peaked and its pre-pandemic averages.

Joanne Hsu, Director of the consumer survey said
“consumers are reserving judgment about the economy in
light of the upcoming election, which, in the view of many
consumers, could have a substantial impact on the
trajectory of the economy”.

In another comment Ian Shepherdson, Chief Economist at
Pantheon Macroeconomics, suggested the increase in
gasoline prices likely contributed to the decline in
consumers’ outlook. The average national price of a gallon
of gasoline has jumped about 7% in April from a month


Manufacturing output expanding for first time in 17
months but not in furniture sector
A barometer of business conditions at US manufacturers
turned positive in March for the first time in 17 months,
another sign that the industrial side of the economy is on
the mend. The Institute for Supply Management’s index
of manufacturers rose to 50.3% in March from 47.8% in
the previous month. Numbers above 50% are viewed as
positive, the index had fallen for 16 months in a row.

Despite the good news the Furniture and Related Products
industry stood out among the industries surveyed as
showing the steepest contraction in March while the Wood
Products industry reported neither growth nor contraction
for the month. Survey respondents said business activity is
on its way up.




LM       Loyale Merchant, a grade of log parcel  Cu.m         Cubic Metre
QS        Qualite Superieure    Koku         0.278 Cu.m or 120BF
CI          Choix Industriel                                                       FFR           French Franc
CE         Choix Economique                                                        SQ              Sawmill Quality
CS         Choix Supplimentaire      SSQ            Select Sawmill Quality
FOB      Free-on-Board     FAS            Sawnwood Grade First and
KD        Kiln Dry                               Second 
AD        Air Dry        WBP           Water and Boil Proof
Boule    A Log Sawn Through and Through MR              Moisture Resistant
              the boards from one log are bundled                      pc         per piece      
              together                      ea                each      
BB/CC  Grade B faced and Grade C backed MBF           1000 Board Feet          
              Plywood   MDF           Medium Density Fibreboard
BF        Board Foot F.CFA         CFA Franc        
Sq.Ft     Square Foot              Price has moved up or down
Source:ITTO'  Tropical Timber Market Report