Inland West Business Trends

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By Terry Miller

Throughout the Inland West region lumber sources varied as to how their marketplaces were faring, at the time of this writing, with some stating that they were busy while others felt their sales were on a decline.

In Arizona a lumber spokesperson said that the market in his area has slowed down significantly. “Interest rates have really halted home sales and new construction and we are feeling the effects of this slowdown,” he remarked.

When asked if his sales were better or worse than they were six months ago, he said that they were worse.

His company offers Inland Hemlock Fir and Spruce Pine Fir in grades No. 2 and Better and in 2×4-2×12 and in lengths 8-feet to 20-feet.

“We sell to dealers, brokers and home centers,” he said. “I think that they are all in the same boat that we are. They are seeing and feeling the slowdown due to the interest rates, just like we are.”

In Montana a lumber salesman said that his sales have been doing well. “We are busy right now,” he said. “We are having a bit of a fall push before the snow flies in.” He noted that while he thinks that the weather is going to slow down his sales temporarily, there are economic pressures that could affect his business further down the road.

“I would say that we are doing worse than we were six months ago, but that is only because we aren’t in the heart of building season anymore,” he said when asked if his company was doing better or worse than they were six months ago.

His company offers Hemlock Fir in 2×4’s through 2×12’s in grades No. 2 and Better and Select Struct and No. 1 Common.

He said that his company mainly sells to dealer yards and that they have all relayed that they have been fairly busy, at the time of this writing.

When asked if there was anything that might be negatively affecting his business, he stated that the only thing that has proven difficult for his company is the availability of parts for equipment.

A lumber representative in Idaho said that his market has been flat. “Our market and sales are lackluster at best right now,” he stated, adding that their market is doing about as well as it was six months ago.

His company offers Ponderosa Pine, Lodge Pole Pine and Cedar. They offer their Pine in No. 2 Common and in 3/4 thickness and Cedar in 7/8 thickness and in 2FACE. He said that there wasn’t one specie that was selling better than the others.

“We sell mostly to home centers,” he noted. “I think that everyone is in about the same position that we are, and with the static levels that we are at, everyone is trying to hang in there and they have been for the last six months.”

By Miller Wood Trade Publications

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