Monthly Archives

July 2015

Summer Lumber Prices 2015

By | Professional Builder News | No Comments
Zeeland Lumber now has the ability ship product from it's Waterford, MI location.

Lumber prices for dimensional lumber should remain steady throughout the remainder of 2015.

John-Colley-Final-1024x1024There are currently several factors affecting lumber prices this year.  The exchange rate between the United States and Canada continues to widen.  As of this writing it is $1 U.S. to $1.30 Canadian.  That means for every dollar the Canadian mills sell into the United States they receive about $1.30 in return.  By comparison, the exchange rate between Canada and China is $1 Canadian to $.21 Chinese which results in a return of $.21.  The implications are that Canadian mills are much better off selling into the United States from purely an exchange rate perspective.

Exchange rates are not the only factor.  There is currently a tariff between the United States and Canada.  This is an oversimplified representation, but for every dollar Canadian mills ship into the United States they currently have to pay a 15% tariff.  Pricing this quarter rose as the tariffs were responsible for an incline we felt in August.  The current tariff treaty is set to expire this fall and we will have a period with no treaty in place throughout next year.  If you recall, the treaty was lobbied for by the U.S. lumber producers to hold off the perceived low priced subsidized Canadian wood.  If all other variables remain constant, dimensional lumber could remain at these low levels at least through the fall.

From the demand side I am currently hearing that sales of new single-family houses in June 2015 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 482,000  which is 6.8% below May’s rate of 517,000, but 18.1% above the June 2014 estimate of 408,000.  This indicates that starts seem to be better than previously estimated, but not as high as anticipated.  The permit data suggests there is some work coming but an uptick in permits doesn’t necessarily translate into a monthly demand increase and it doesn’t solve our current labor solution.

All in, all, the data is pointing towards ample supply and a slight increase in building.  We are just coming off the situation where Canadian mills didn’t want to ship into the United States until the tariffs were gone and we are going into the season of summer shutdowns.  There appears to be ample supply in secondary sources if needed despite Canada’s hesitancy to export.  That being said, demand trumps supply when it comes to lumber pricing. At this point, I wouldn’t expect pricing to go too far one way or the other unless mills lose their order files.  I think this all points to relatively stable pricing as we push into fall with a small chance for a few bumps in the road along the way.  Thanks for your continued partnership.


Home Market Shows Continued Growth

By | Homeowner News, Professional Builder News | No Comments

Mike-Dykstra-SmallAs many of you have been feeling, new home sales have been strong, even through the winter months. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reported newly built, single family homes increased 15.6% in January of 2013. Rick Judson, chairman of the NAHB, shared: “While we can’t expect to see double-digit sales growth every month, consumers are definitely coming off the fence as prices start to rise, and builders in some cases are having a tough time keeping up. Challenges related to credit availability, poor appraisals, dwindling lot supplies, spot shortages of skilled labor and rising materials costs are all weighing on the recovery process.” (

Interest rates continue to be favorable and most economists believe they will stay favorable well into 2014. There is only a 4.1 month supply of new home inventory. Occasionally people will ask me if I believe this is sustainable, or just a blip. We are hiring many new positions at this time so I do believe this is sustainable. Demographics and several years of under-building show that we should have a few years of growth and then some flattening of the market as it reaches equilibrium. This growth will not be without challenges, but we are preparing to serve you better.

Now Hiring, Customer Returns Specialist in Zeeland, MI

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Location: Zeeland, MI

Responsible for serving Zeeland Lumber’s customers in an engaging way to provide timely credits for returned material.  This is a part-time position

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Process customer returns according to established department policies and procedures
  • Working with vendors to get special orders returned.
  • Greeting & assisting walk-in customers, talking with phone-in customers, purchase order entry, material receiving, answering phones, scheduling, and invoicing.
  • Promote customer service for both external and internal customers.
  • Perform other related duties as assigned

Qualifications / Requirements

  • Working knowledge and everyday use of technology including but not limited to email, phones, internet, MS Word, MS Excel, BisTrack, WMS, & ADP
  • Energetic, forward-thinking and creative individual with high ethical standards and an appropriate professional image.
  • Leadership and organizational abilities.
  • Outstanding listening and interpersonal communication skills.
  • Strong analytical and cognitive skills with ability to solve problems.
  • Commitment to company values.
  • Ability to solve problems

Success Factors

Personal characteristics/behavior that contribute to the ability to do your job well:

  • Respect for employees, customers, vendors and management.
  • Respect for the Organization and its information
  • Willingness to serve the customer
  • Teamwork mentality
  • Maintain a positive work atmosphere by acting and communicating in a cooperative manner with customers, co-workers, vendors & management.

Education / Training / Experience

  • High School degree a minimum
  • Experience in the Building Industry
  • Heart for the customer and their needs.

If you would like to be considered for this position, please email your resume to