Contractors on the West Coast may be scratching their heads, asking why lumber prices are rising when they are falling every where else. The answer is China. The Chinese have more than doubled their purchases of lumber from Canada and the U.S. within the last year, according to industry specialist Random Lengths, Eugene, Ore. That demand drives a price disparity in the Pacific Northwest, especially for spruce products, and prices in the rest of the country. Related Links: Forecast: A Weak Recovery Checks Inflation Confidence Index: Heads of Major Firms Believe Market Is Nearing Stability Equipment: Why Few Are Debating
The market is generally healthy and steadily growing, and margins are up for large specialty contractors. Further, advances in design tools and owner demand for collaboration are giving subcontractors a seat at the table early on in projects.