Pine Sawtimber Prices Increased 22% in North Carolina
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U.S. housing starts have trended downward in the last few months. In February 2019, while multifamily housing starts were up nearly 18%, single-family housing starts dropped about 17%, resulting in just a 9% drop in the overall rate of housing starts to 1.16 million units, compared to January 2019.
In the first quarter of 2019, South-wide average stumpage prices were up for all major timber products, except for hardwood sawtimber, mainly because of season-long wet weather in the southeast region. All pine product prices were up at least 5% from the fourth quarter of 2018. In the lumber markets, while Southern pine lumber prices went up 9% to over $400 per thousand board feet, hardwood lumber prices continued to decline in this quarter. Crude oil prices were up, but diesel and natural gas prices were down in this quarter.
In the first quarter of 2019, North Carolina state-wide average timber prices were up except for pine pulpwood. According to TimberMart-South, the average pine sawtimber price was $30 per ton, up 22% from last quarter and up 20% from the price a year ago. It was about 19% above the south-wide average pine sawtimber price of $25 per ton. The largest increase was in Eastern North Carolina, where the average pine sawtimber price was $36 per ton, up about 33% from the last quarter of 2018. Similarly, pine chip-n-saw prices were about $19.2 per ton, up 5% from last quarter.
Pine pulpwood prices in North Carolina, however, trended downward in this quarter. The state-wide pine pulpwood price averaged $10.2 per ton, down 2.3% from last quarter and down 11% from the first quarter of 2018. The average pine pulpwood price in Eastern North Carolina was $11.8 per ton, down 11% from last quarter and down 17% from the price a year ago.
The hardwood sawtimber price increased at the state-wide average of $26.4 per ton in this quarter. The hardwood pulpwood prices also trended upward to the state-wide average of $5.4 per ton, but still 51% lower than the South-wide average price of $11.1 per ton. The average hardwood pulpwood price in Eastern North Carolina was $4.2 per ton, up 21% from last quarter and up 64% from the price a year ago. For more information on the 2019 first quarter stumpage prices in North Carolina, please visit the NC State Extension Forestry website.