Hardwood Market Changes Discussed At ALC Meeting

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Appalachian Lumbermen’s Club (ALC) members reviewed Hardwood market changes in recent years as reported by the Hardwood Market Report.

The recent meeting was held at the Hotel Roanoke in Roanoke, VA, and guest speaker was Andy Johnson, HMR assistant editor, on “Hardwood Market Trends: The Present Realities and Possibilities.” HMR was recently purchased by FastMarkets and Johnson explained it allows the company to broaden its indexing to Hardwood lumber.

The presentation reviewed changes in Hardwood markets over the past few years. Johnson detailed housing starts and renovations and the impacts on lumber markets.

He noted that inflation, interest rates and consumer credit have slowed housing sales and new building in 2024. According to the National Association of Realtors, home sales have declined since February 2023 with stabilization in January of 2024. Mortgage interest rates were on the rise in 2023 and topped eight percent but were down slightly in January, Johnson said.

These changes have hurt grade Hardwood lumber sales in flooring, millwork, cabinets and furniture. He displayed a graphic that detailed the dramatic decline in Hardwood grade lumber consumption in domestic markets while the volume of exports increased.

Both categories are down in 2023 but forecasts are improving for home sales in 2024 and exports. He said the industry must work to recapture market share lost to substitute materials.

Johnson said there are positive sales in railroad ties and industrial materials which continue to take a larger share of Hardwood resources.

The Real American Hardwood promotion was highlighted at the end of the presentation. The ALC Board of Directors voted earlier in the day to increase its level of financial support.

The next meeting of the Club is the Spring Beach Meeting on May 2-5 at the Avista Resort in North Myrtle Beach, SC. 

Visit www.lumberclub.org to learn more.

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