In early 2013, framing labor prices approached highs not seen since the housing bubble. In 2014, their increases slowed and the next year they declined, reported Calculated Risk's Bill McBride.

In 2015, even with the pickup in U.S. housing starts, prices were down year-over-year. Note: Multifamily starts do not use as much lumber as single family starts, and there was a surge in multi-family starts. This decline in 2015 was also probably related to weakness in China.

But things changed in July.

Right now [Framing Lumber from] Random Lengths prices are up slightly from a year ago, and CME futures are up about 9% year-over-year.

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