Regional Analysis of U.S. Sawn Hardwood Product Prices from 2000 to 2020

An examination of hardwood lumber prices in the eastern United States adjusted for inflation and regional differences in forest composition found declines in aggregate (combined species) prices across all regions. Still, the movements of the three aggregate prices examined were highly correlated among regions. The greatest declines in lumber price occurred in the Northeast and Lake States regions, with smaller declines occurring in the Central, Southern, and Mid-Atlantic regions. With the exception of white oak and walnut, prices of high-value species declined more than prices of low-value species. For most of this century, the Northeast region has had the highest aggregate prices for lumber products. However, the Central region had the highest price for highquality lumber since 2017. While lumber prices have declined, prices for industrial hardwood products have
increased, and these increases were consistent among regions. In 2020, the price of pallet cants exceeded the price of lower quality hardwood lumber for most species, and crosstie prices exceeded that of aggregate midquality lumber. The declines in hardwood lumber prices were the result of reduced domestic demand and insufficient increases in exports to offset this decrease. While increased domestic and export demand will result in increased prices, the prolonged period of low lumber prices may reduce the expected returns to timber management.


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