Connect with us

News

Lumber prices have new growth spurt

Published

on

By

Lumber prices have new growth spurt

Lumber prices have shot up again in a rise reminiscent of a year ago, when high-climbing wood prices warned of the hinky supply lines and broad inflation to come. 

Futures for January delivery ended Friday at $1,089.10 per thousand board feet, twice the price for a prompt delivery in mid-November. 

Cash prices are way up as well. Pricing service Random Lengths said its framing composite index, which tracks on-the-spot sales, has jumped 65% since October, to $915. A $129 gain this week was the biggest on record, eclipsing a $124 jump in May, when lumber prices crested at all-time highs. 

Though lumber is traded in esoteric markets, 2-by-4s became a proxy in the debate over whether inflation would fade with distance from the lockdown. In June, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell pointed to lumber prices plunging from a shocking peak as evidence that surging costs would subside. On Wednesday, he said the central bank would hasten the wind-down of its bond-buying program, setting the stage for a series of interest-rate hikes meant to tame inflation.  

Lumber prices have a way to go before they threaten the records set in spring, when futures hit $1,711.20. Still, lumber prices with a comma were unimaginable before the lockdown, when mills were caught off guard by do-it-yourself and home-building booms and all the decks needed to facilitate outdoor dining.  

The prime home-building time is coming up in spring 2022.
Bloomberg via Getty Images

Analysts and traders say conditions are ripe for prices to keep climbing through winter, as they often do ahead of the spring building season. 

Flooding in British Columbia has cut off sawmills from forests and customers, unusually warm autumn weather has extended the building season and wood buyers are loading up in fear of further price increases and supply problems. 

The prospect of higher interest rates cooling the hot housing market also looms. Higher borrowing costs would reduce buyers’ ability to keep up with the price hikes that builders have used to offset their own increased costs. Most Fed officials have penciled in at least three quarter-percentage-point rate increases next year. 

“Builders think that they’re getting close to the end of a cycle and they’re doing everything they can to get houses going,” said Matt Layman, an analyst and consultant who publishes Layman’s Lumber Guide. “They know they can pay $1,500 for 2-by-4s. They didn’t like it, but it didn’t hurt them.” 

Random Lengths said demand has exceeded supply, prompting sawmills to aggressively raise prices in hopes of slowing orders that are backing up into the new year. “Some producers unable to dissuade buyers with defensive pricing went off the market,” the trade publication said. 

Sawmills in British Columbia have reduced output since rains washed out roads and railways last month, sending prices higher for the northwest’s spruce, pine and fir. Busy builders hammering away through balmy fall weather flocked to eastern markets for wood, pushing up prices around the Great Lakes and in the South. 

Workers building an addition to a house.
The demand for new homes and renovations to existing houses is keeping lumber prices more than healthy.
MediaNews Group via Getty Images

In a recent survey of building product dealers, 20% of respondents told John Burns Real Estate Consulting that they held what they deemed to be excess inventory of lumber, down from 56% who said in August that they had more than enough on hand.  

The firm expects home construction to accelerate in 2022 and strong growth in major remodeling jobs due to the record amount of home equity available to pay for new kitchens and additions. 

“They should be sitting on more inventory,” said Todd Tomalak, who tracks building products for the consulting firm. “It’s the perfect storm for another wave of building-product shortages, a rinse and repeat in lumber and for a lot of other stuff as well.”  

On Wednesday, the National Association of Home Builders said its index of builder confidence, though down slightly from last autumn’s peak exuberance, hit one of its most optimistic readings dating back to 1985. On Thursday, the Commerce Department said construction started on 1.679 million homes last month at a seasonally adjusted annual rate. That is up 12% from October and the most since March.  

The number of started homes exceeded those that were completed by the largest margin since 1984, when double-digit mortgage rates tanked the housing market. The big gap reflects the difficulty builders have had procuring materials, appliances and fixtures necessary to finish houses. 

Builders have had no trouble raising prices to counteract their own increased costs, because ultralow mortgage rates have kept monthly payments affordable. Despite record prices for lumber and other materials, home builders have been reporting some of their highest profit margins ever. 

Builders including Toll BrothersLennar Corp and Hovnanian Enterprises say they are still working through the lumber bought when prices peaked in spring and expect margins to increase later next year when they sell houses built with wood purchased after prices crashed back to earth this summer. Executives with those firms told investors during recent calls that they are confident they can raise home prices more if lumber makes another run.  

“The market just feels really strong regarding pricing opportunities, so we’re comfortable,” said Ara Hovnanian, chief executive of his eponymous firm, which sold homes for an average price of about $445,000 in the fiscal year that ended Oct. 31, compared with roughly $419,000 a year earlier. 

News

Sports world reacts to John Madden’s death

Published

on

By

Sports world reacts to John Madden’s death

Legendary NFL coach and broadcaster John Madden died Tuesday morning at 85, the NFL announced. News of the football icon’s passing hit Twitter on Tuesday evening, and athletes, coaches and broadcasters from across the sports world reacted.

Fellow broadcasting legend Dick Vitale, who is currently battling cancer, called Madden “the greatest analyst of all time of any sport” in his Twitter tribute.

Former Yankees pitcher and notable Raiders fan CC Sabathia said “your legacy will live forever.” Madden coached the then-Oakland Raiders from 1969-78, a couple of years before Sabathia, a Vallejo, California native, was born. Lakers star LeBron James had similar words about Madden’s lasting legacy, adding an infinity emoji.

Former tennis star and social justice activist Billie Jean King recalled meeting Madden as a “privilege.”

Radio voice of the Rangers Kenny Albert, a five-sport broadcaster who’s been with FOX Sports since its inception in 1994, shared a photo circa 26 years ago to remember Madden.

ESPN’s Bomani Jones took a bit of a shot at current color commentators, noting that Madden “set an unreachable standard.”

Frank Caliendo, who’s made a career out of impersonations, including one for Madden, said he was surprised how emotional he felt.

Several football players, and others, including Saints running back Mark Ingram II and former Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant, credited Madden with being part of the reason why they love football.

Rams wide receiver and NFL MVP contender Cooper Kupp quote the late coach in his tribute: “The road to Easy Street goes through the sewer.”

Continue Reading

News

Miles McBride’s Knicks role will lessen with Kemba Walker’s resurgence

Published

on

By

Miles McBride’s Knicks role will lessen with Kemba Walker’s resurgence

MINNEAPOLIS — The Knicks got back another body in rookie point guard Miles McBride, who was cleared from protocols Tuesday and rejoined the team in Minnesota.

But there is no longer any hype for the rookie’s return. Kemba Walker is back as the starting point guard and coming off winning Eastern Conference Player of the Week honors with four standout games, including his Christmas Day spectacular. The Knicks have gone 2-2 since Walker regained the starting job.

“It’s great,’’ coach Tom Thibodeau said. “He had a great week. He’s playing great basketball. The team winning helps him get recognized and he was a big part of driving that winning. It’s great for the team.’’

McBride was also spectacular in his last outing before getting COVID-19, when he played the entire second half Dec. 16 in Houston and seemingly earned a spot in the rotation. In fact, McBride had strung together two decent outings before he was ruled out. But things have changed since his emergence and McBride is likely back to being a bit player.

Without a practice, McBride wasn’t even expected to see time when the Knicks faced the Timberwolves to kick off a four-game road trip.

Miles McBride
NBAE via Getty Images

Of course, with Walker’s arthritic knee, anything is possible. The Knicks play Detroit on Wednesday in a back-to-back, so it’s uncertain whether Walker will complete both contests. In addition, Immanuel Quickley is out of COVID-19 protocols but Thibodeau wasn’t sure he was ready for meaningful minutes.

That left Walker against the depleted Timberwolves, who were missing their three top players (Anthony Edwards, Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell), all because of COVID-19 .

Kemba Walker
Kemba Walker
USA TODAY Sports

When McBride got sidelined by the virus and Derrick Rose needed ankle surgery, Walker was resurrected by Thibodeau and it’s been a stunning comeback story.

Though Thibodeau has clear reservations about Walker based on his nine-game banishment due to his defensive malaise as an undersized point guard, he admitted after the Christmas Day triple-double against Atlanta that Walker is playing “much more aggressive.”

Walker’s triple-double that featured 10 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds was a lot different than his prior outing, when he scored 44 points against Washington.

“I thought his passing was terrific,’’ Thibodeau said before the Knicks resumed their schedule.

“Kemba had control of the game. The game tells you what to do. That’s what I loved about the way he played. I don’t think he forced anything. They puts size on him and were aggressive in their pick-and-roll coverage. He didn’t fight it. He attacked pressure the way you like to attack pressure. You don’t fight pressure with pressure. Don’t try to split it. Get rid of it, go to the backside. Let the game tell you what to do.’’

The Knicks coach is finally seeing all the elements of what Walker can do. Before his demotion, Walker was nothing more than a no-defense, 3-point shooter whose plus-minus was an abysmal minus-122.

Thibodeau was also concerned about his durability in sitting out two of the three back-to-back sets. The last load management game in Atlanta in late November triggered Thibodeau’s decision.

But now it’s only superlatives from Thibodeau in judging the last four games.

“Sometimes it’s going to be his shooting, sometimes it’s his penetration and getting in the paint to force a collapse and sometimes they’re being aggressive with their traps get rid of the ball quickly,’’ Thibodeau said. “The overall play, his rebounding. When your guards rebound, those are key to fast breaks. The more guard rebounding we get the better we can be. ‘’

The Knicks still have three players in protocols — centers Nerlens Noel and Jericho Sims and the newly infected Wayne Selden. Quickley and Kevin Knox were cleared on Christmas but were held out for conditioning.

No matter. The Knicks go as Kemba goes.

“He’s much more aggressive,’’ Thibodeau said. “That was the challenge. At the beginning of the year he and Evan were two new starters. Sometimes guys are trying to fit in. he’s being very aggressive which is the way we want him to play. Not deferring at all. When he and Julius [Randle] are aggressive like that our team is different.’’

Continue Reading

News

Bar raises dramatically for Zach Wilson in matchup with Tom Brady, Buccaneers

Published

on

By

Zach Wilson and Tom Brady

When Zach Wilson stares across the MetLife Stadium field at the opposite sideline this Sunday, it won’t be Trevor Lawrence he’ll be looking at as his game-day counterpart.

Lawrence, drafted by Jacksonville one spot before the Jets selected Wilson at No. 2 overall last April, is a contemporary.

This Sunday at MetLife, the Jets rookie quarterback won’t be staring at a contemporary on the other sideline. He’ll be staring at the GOAT.

Tom Brady.

The bar raises dramatically for Wilson and the Jets, who are coming off of their feel-good, get-well win over the woeful Jaguars and Lawrence this past Sunday.

Brady and Buccaneers, who are 11-4, NFC South division champions and seeking to repeat as Super Bowl champions, play the Jets, who are 4-11 and seeking more signs of development from their rookie quarterback.

To say this is a step up in competition for Wilson and the Jets going from Lawrence and the Jags to Brady and the Bucs is as obvious as pointing out that Tampa Bay receiver Antonio Brown has had a few off-the-field incidents during his otherwise stellar NFL career.

There hasn’t been a lot to keep the interest of the Jets fan this season — other than watching Wilson’s development. That took an unfortunate pause for the four games Wilson missed with a knee injury, but he’s been back for five games and has looked like a better quarterback, throwing only two interceptions in those games (none in the last three) since returning from his injury.

The problem, though, is that Wilson hasn’t been producing enough touchdowns, throwing for three of them and rushing for four others in the past five games.

Zach Wilson and Tom Brady
Zach Wilson and Tom Brady
N.Y. Post: Charles Wenzelberg; AP

Baby steps, though.

Wilson was the better quarterback this past Sunday when matched up with Lawrence, who threw for more yards than Wilson did, but Wilson ran for 91 yards, including his electric 52-yard scoring jaunt, and made key throws when he needed them.

Wilson will not win Sunday’s game against Brady and the Bucs throwing for the 102 yards he had against the Jaguars. He and the Jets will need more.

Consider this: Brady enters the game having thrown 37 TD passes and for 4,580 yards this season and averages a league-high 305.2 passing yards per game.

Then this: The Buccaneers average 29.5 points per game this season, second most in the NFL.

And this: Wilson doesn’t have a single 300-yard passing game, averages 183 passing yards per game and has thrown seven TD passes in 11 games.

Seven TD passes is a pedestrian two-game total for Brady.

Wilson and the Jets are playing with house money anyway in what always has been a developmental season, so Sunday against Brady should, at its very least, be a great measuring-stick learning experience for Wilson, who’s studied Brady on tape.

Wilson revealed this month that he watched film of Brady before the Jets played the Eagles on Dec. 5 in an effort to pick up tips on how Brady worked against the Eagles defense when he played them earlier in the season.

“I thought it was really cool to see kind of how he went through his whole process, how he navigated the pocket, different things like that,” Wilson said at the time.

On Sunday, Wilson gets to see that process up close as Brady tries to dissect a Jets defense that has yielded 29.9 points per game this season, the most in the NFL.

That puts an added onus on Wilson to produce on the other side of the ball, because he knows Brady is going to get his. Wilson will likely need to produce four TDs — any way he can — for the Jets to simply remain competitive with the Super Bowl champs.

That’s a lot to ask of a 22-year-old kid who’s produced just 11 TDs in his 11 starts, up against Brady, who’s thrown 618 TD passes and for 83,784 yards in his remarkable career.

It, too, is a lot to ask playing against an aggressive Tampa Bay defense that’s ranked No. 9 in the NFL in points allowed (20.8 per game) and is led by former Jets head coach Todd Bowles, who’d surely like to send a holiday message to his former employer.

If you don’t think Bowles will be blitzing the bejesus out of Wilson, then you probably think Antonio Brown is a living saint.

The good news for the Jets is that Wilson has shown incremental improvements, particularly when it comes to his decision-making and quicker releases on his throws.

“He’s coming along, he’s getting more comfortable, he’s calmer back there,’’ Jets coach Robert Saleh said Monday. “He’s in a great headspace and it’s going to be fun to watch him grow, continue to grow.’’

A big part of that growth will take place this Sunday as he watches the GOAT operate from the opposite sideline at MetLife.

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2017 ArcticNow.com