Where has all of the timber gone? 

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ON 18 March

By: admin

If you haven’t noticed it can be a little difficult at present finding the timber products you require, be it for home construction, landscaping or industrial pallet and crate construction. Here is a short explanation and time line of the factors driving timber shortages and unstable pricing.

  • December 2019 Bushfires – Major areas of timber resource is burnt along with sawmills; sawmills are faced with slow production of burnt log coupled with restricted access to unsafe forests.
  • March 2020 Covid Hits – Covid 19 news sends fears into the Australian timber market and the most sensible action taken by almost every mid to major sawmill and wholesaler is to sell down any stock and cut production to manage cash flow and running costs as it appears inevitable that businesses will be forced into a closure.
  • April 2020 – It’s not so bad – Timber merchants and wholesalers report a surge in demand due to home renovators and DiYers appetite for home improvement timber. People have reacted to a lock down by spending on home improvement.
  • June 2020 Home Builder grants kick off – Government stimulus creates a surge in new home approvals while people’s appetite for property investment grows due to surplus cash available from not holidaying abroad.
  • June 2020 hangover from Jobkeeper – While Jobkeeper was a completely necessary stimulus package the hangover effect is that sawmills, all in regional towns now struggle to re-instate a workforce to cope with demand.
  • June 2020 Shipping rates surge – cost and availability of imports become a factor while Australia is largely unaffected the rest of the world is still sluggish in timber production and the cost of shipping increases by up to 500%
  • July 2020 till now – supply shortages continue.

Australia’s dwelling approvals

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