Seasonal Trends and Winter Pricing

ohio forest in winter

Like the market for any commodity, it is impossible to predict the rises and falls of the hardwood timber and lumber markets.

Timber prices are cyclical and strongly tied to the overall economic outlook, the strength of the US and global housing markets and tied to design trends that place one species or style in particular more highly regarded than another.

Though no one can say with certainty what will happen to the market for any hardwood timber, based upon consistent, solid data from the past, we can with reasonable assurance make certain educated guesses about the general direction it will go in certain instances. In the case of Walnut, Winter yields higher quality, and therefore more valuable logs.

In fact, the factors that dictate the market price of hardwood timber seem to have converged in the case of Black Walnut, leading to some of the best pricing ever. Black Walnut prices ticked up over the Summer months and are poised to continue the climb.

A Strong Black Walnut Market

Historic trends suggest that Black Walnut values will hold strong through the winter logging season.
The price of Black Walnut timber has gone up each week for over a year, leaving Black Walnut at some of the highest prices ever paid for these trees! This defies the usual trend where prices decline across the board for all hardwood timber in the Summer and rebound in the Winter.

The Summer of 2014 has, in general, kept with this trend. As expected the prices for White Oak, Hard Maple, and other common, popular hardwoods have fallen. The curious exception to this rule has been Black Walnut, which continues to increase in value.

As we go into the end of the Summer tree cutting season, prices across the hardwood market are again beginning to increase, as they do each year, with the value of standing Black Walnut timber being no exception. Historic trends suggest that Black Walnut values will hold strong through the winter logging season. Still, there are reasons beyond the time of year that are driving this strong trend and create an overall positive picture of the future prospects for Black Walnut.

Good Prospects for Continued Growth

The biggest single factor in the price of hardwood timber is the housing market.

On this front there is solid reason for continued optimisim. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, which has housing start data as far back as the 1960s, a little more than a million single-family homes underwent construction in April of 2014, up from just 500 million at the trough of The Great Recession.

While this is still a far cry from the 2.2 million homes that were started in January of 2006, it is still bodes overwhelmingly positively for the future of the hardwood logging industry and all of the related industries such as hardwood flooring, hardwood cabinetry, etc. As the US economy continues to improve, there is good reason for continued optimism about the logging industry and the value of North American Hardwood Timber.

Have Your Timber Assessed

While the bull market in Walnut timber cannot solely be contributed to the uptick in new home construction, we at Timber Works believe the strong Walnut market isn’t going away soon. That said, the price of Black Walnut will eventually go down and there has never been a better time to sell your mature Walnut trees. If you have hardwood timber to sell, give us a call for a no-hassle, free assessment of your woods.

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