U.S. housing upswing good news for local forestry industry
The price of lumber being delivered to the northeast U.S. is going up - running anywhere between $400 and $500 for a 1,000 board feet, prices which had gone as low as $260. (CTV Atlantic)
Published Monday, May 13, 2013 6:53PM ADT
With the U.S. housing market on an upswing, business is picking up for the struggling Maritime forestry industry.
Housing statistics in the U.S. show a five-year high, with more than a million homes expected to be built in 2013.
“Most of our products are exported into the U.S. and into those markets, so, as more homes are being built, that means better markets for us here in New Brunswick,” says Mark Arsenault of New Brunswick Forest Products Association.
The price of lumber being delivered to the northeast U.S. is going up too, running between $400 and $500 for a 1,000 board feet, prices which had gone as low as $260.
The rebound is also being felt by private woodlot owners as well.
“Because mills are out shopping, we know there is people knocking on our doors at our marketing boards, looking to buy more logs and studwood,” says Ken Hardie of the New Brunswick Federation of Woodlot Owners Inc.
Half of New Brunswick’s sawmills shut down over the last ten years and the recent surge in the housing market has led to more work in the sawmills that are left.
“I don’t think we’ll ever get back to the boom days of 2004 to 2005, because we’ve had so many mills shutdown, but on the lumber side, things are good,” says Hardie.
While the housing market is on the upswing south of the border, these continue to be difficult times for the forestry industry due to a number of factors.
“Petroleum costs, the high dollar, all of those elements are very real and they impact the bottom line,” says Arsenault.
“We have our age-old dilemma in the woodlot sector of having to compete with publicly owned, crown wood,” says Hardie.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Nick Moore