In the South, sawtimber harvests have been depressed since 2007. This trend will likely continue for the next 2-4 years. The recovery in sawtimber prices is linked to the recovery in the lumber market, which is further tied to the recovery in the housing market. Assuming that the housing market slowly recovers over the next few years and tops out at 1.2 million housing starts by 2014, the US South will have built approximately 80 million tons of softwood sawtimber inventory over and above the 80 million tons currently being harvested.
If this trend continues, there will be little pressure on the South’s sawtimber resource, and thus little pressure on price.