Despite Record High Lumber Prices, Pine Sawtimber Prices in North Carolina Dropped in the First Quarter, 2021
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Amid the looming COVID-19 global Pandemic, both housing and lumber markets continued to surge in the first quarter of 2021. In March 2021, US housing starts were up about 19% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of about 1.74 million units, the highest point since late 2006. The lumber markets also continued to soar up throughout the U.S. regions. Some of the Southern Yellow Pine (SYP) lumber grades were reportedly over $1,100 per thousand board feet in recent weeks.
In the first quarter of 2021, while both pine and hardwood pulpwood prices rose considerably, pine sawtimber and chip-n-saw stumpage prices were down in North Carolina. According to TimberMart-South, the state-wide average pine sawtimber prices in 2021 Q1 were about $25/ton, down 8% from last quarter. It was still 1.3% above the south-wide average pine sawtimber prices. The pine sawtimber prices in eastern North Carolina dropped 19% in this quarter. Similarly, statewide average pine chip-n-saw prices were $15.8 per ton, down 3.8% from last quarter and down 5.2% from 2020 Q1.
The state-wide average pine pulpwood price continued to move upward to over $11/ton, which were up 13% from last quarter and up 21% from 2020 Q1. The eastern North Carolina had even higher pine pulpwood prices with an average of about $14/ton.
The statewide mixed hardwood sawtimber prices averaged at $25.5 per ton in this quarter, up 4% from last quarter and up 9% from the price a year ago. It was still about 15% less than the south-wide average of hardwood sawtimber prices. Similarly, hardwood pulpwood prices also trended upward to the state-wide average of $7.9 per ton, up 44% from the last quarter, and up 57% from the price a year ago. For more information on the 2021 first quarter stumpage prices in North Carolina, please visit Forestry Price Data.