As the price of lumber reaches an all-time record high, investors better take this as another warning that the market is in a massive bubble. However, a large percentage of investors today are unable to spot bubbles because everything is in a bubble. So, to see the price of lumber hit the highest price ever, doesn’t phase the market one bit. Well, maybe the home builders understand the dangers of rising lumber prices, but the overall market is clueless.
The price of 1,000 board-feet of lumber reached a new high of $629 today, up from $592 last week when I wrote my article, The 3 Stage Housing Bubble Collapse. The lumber price is not only up a staggering 42% this year, but it’s also up 175% since the beginning of 2016:
According to the article, With Lumber in Short Supply, Record Wood Costs Are Set to Juice Home Prices:
Marc Towne of Classic Homes, which builds midrange to high-end houses in Colorado Springs, Colo., said he is spending $8,500 more on lumber for a typical home than a year ago, an increase of almost 40%. The company’s passing on about half the cost to buyers for now while it waits to see if lumber prices fall.
Even though many homebuilders lumber costs have increased significantly, many are passing half of that cost to the buyer waiting to see if prices will fall. Well, ever since that article was written back at the beginning of March, lumber prices have jumped by another 14% from $550 to $629.
As home prices increase, more Americans are pushed out of buying a home. In a recent interview on BNN Bloomberg, the CEO of the NAHB, the National Association of Home Builders stated that for every $1,000 increase in the price of a new home, 150,000 potential American homebuyers are price out of the market. At the time of the interview on Feb 20th, the extra lumber cost for the average house was $3,000. However, the lumber price on Feb 20th was only $517 compared to the $629 today.
Now, the reason for the surging lumber price has been blamed on three factors:
- Canada lumber tariff
- Shortage of rail cars for transportation of lumber
- Increased forest fire damage to lumber stocks
Regardless, the price of lumber has never been higher. Also, if we look at the lumber market sentiment, it is also at a new record high:
Looking at the Sentiment Trader’s chart, the lumber price at $619 (yesterday) pushed the market sentiment (optix) to a new high reading of 90. If we go back all the way to 1991, the sentiment has never been higher. Also, the second highest lumber price ever, not including the current 1-year trend, was $470 in 1993. So, the higher lumber price is being set up for one heck of a BIG FALL.
With rising lumber prices and higher interest rates, fewer Americans will be able to afford new homes. And it looks like we are feeling the pain already in the new home market, Housing Starts Tumble In April:
The driver of the tumble in housing starts is a 11.3% plunge in multi-family.. (single-family 893k vs 894k prior and multi-family 374k from 428k).
Three of four regions posted declines in starts, led by a 16.3 percent decrease in the Midwest and a 12 percent drop in the West.
While we may continue to see more demand for homes and higher prices this summer, the fall looks like a perfect storm for the market to start falling apart. Furthermore, even though the energy cost to build a home is quite high, it still pales in comparison to the staggering amount of energy to run the U.S. Suburban Economy.
Just think about the amount of energy that is consumed by the 2-3 cars the drive to work, store and school for only one home. Or, how about all the energy it takes to supply water, electricity, and phone to each house. Then, of course, we have to consider the energy cost to run and maintain the wastewater treatment plants the treat all the millions of tons of sewage each year. How many of you realize that 2% of total U.S. electric consumption goes to toward moving and treating wastewater and sewage (source: wastewater factsheet).
Americans have no idea that a new home built today will likely be totally dysfunctional within the next 10-20 years. If we also consider the energy and dollar cost to maintain a home, most of us would be better off moving to the country and rent a mobile home… LOL.
The American Suburban Economy reminds me a bit of the German War Machine during WW2. Few people realize that Hitler invaded the European countries, not only for strategic reasons and to control their population and economies but to also acquire their stocks of oil for the attack on Russia. Yes, Hitler obtained 5 million barrels of oil from conquering Norway, Holland, Belgium, and France (source: axis history).
And here’s another little tidbit that most readers may not know. The reason the German Blitzkrieg was so successful in the beginning stages was that the German Army was on crystal meth. Yes, it sounds hard to believe, but true. I watched a fascinating documentary on this subject matter that the military was given millions of pills of crystal meth called Pervitin:
When the German military launched their Blitzkrieg attack on Holland, Belgium, and France, the army was high on crystal meth. Without needing sleep for days, high on crystal meth, the German military was able to conquer large areas of Europe in a very short period of time. Today, most of us think that crystal meth’s origins started from some kitchen in a rural area in the United States. However, it’s use went mainstream by the consumption of millions of Germans, 80 years ago, before and during World War 2.
Okay, getting back to energy and the housing market. The U.S. Suburban Economy will run out of oil just like the German military. Without a certain level of oil supply, the U.S. Suburban Economy will peak and collapse. This is not up for debate. While we can debate the timing of this event, it’s foolish to believe in an ENERGY SILVER BULLET to save our way of life.
I continue to receive emails in my inbox of some new energy source or technology that is going to save us. I gather this must be delusional thinking because folks, there is no PLAN B. Even the conspiracy theories that claim the Elite are trying to take down the population due to various tactics, it doesn’t matter… we are heading that way with or without the Elite’s supposedly diabolical plans.
Just like the collapse of the ancient Roman Empire, the modern global economy is standing at the cliff, and it won’t take much to push it over the edge. More technology couldn’t save the ancient Roman Empire from collapse, because high degrees of technology consumes even more energy. Thus, the collapse of the Roman Empire was due to the Falling EROI – Energy Returned On Investment.
The peddlers of high technology via robots and auto-piloted electric cars that can drive 65 mph straight into a cement median have no clue about the Falling EROI. Unfortunately, investors who think Tesla still has a chance to provide us with electric vehicles to fill the highways, need to learn some basic science and financial accounting. Tesla is going down in flames. The only question is the amount of time it will take.
This is also true for the U.S. Shale Oil Industry. I am currently putting together the last few graphs for my newest video on the U.S. Shale Oil Industry. Let me tell you; it’s much worse than the market realizes. If investors truly understood that the U.S. Shale Oil Industry was a Ponzi Scheme, then they wouldn’t invest in it. However, just like Bernie Madoff who defrauded investors for $65 billion, seemingly NO ONE HAD A FRICKEN CLUE either.
The same is true today, not only in the shale industry, but also in the entire market. The market is one big giant fraud. But of course, frauds can last for quite a while before the fan hits the cow excrement.
Lastly, people will continue to put their money in highly inflated stock, bond, real estate, and cryptocurrency assets right until the time the BIG KAHUNA comes crashing down. Just like the crash of 1929, everyone will be blindsided…. or mostly everyone. Which means, many individuals will continue to write silly comments how GOLD and SILVER are old worthless relics while EVERYTHING else is the place to be. That is… until the PHAT LADY SIGNS.