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Southern US timberland prices [ClearOnMoney]
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Southern US timberland prices

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Commentary

Southern US timberland prices

19 Dec 2012 by Jim Fickett.

The opportunity for forest investment has not changed much in the last two years. If timberlands really were a good long-term investment opportunity over the last few years, as strongly claimed by many, then they probably still are.

There is little public data on prices for timberland or for wood. So I thought I'd share some data from a presentation by Deltic Timber (more on Deltic in another post).

Here, according to Deltic, is the price trend for timberland in the southern US:

And here is the related national composite lumber price:

(“MBF” is a thousand board feet, or 144,000 cubic inches of wood. Don't blame me, I didn't make up the unit.)

I had been wondering whether wood and timberland had reacted excessively to a so-far modest housing recovery. It would seem not. Timberland has come down from the peak, but slowly, indicating a fairly strong consensus that the peak price was only a little too high. This matches expert opinion from a couple years ago (Trees are at fair value). And wood prices are running at about the average level of the last 10 years, which does not seem unreasonable.

If we assume the southern US data are representative of the broader market, the bottom line is that the opportunity for forest investment has not changed much recently. If timberlands really were a good long-term investment opportunity over the last few years, as strongly claimed by many, then they probably still are.