The US imported a total of 8.456 million cubic metres of softwood lumber from Canada in 1Q this year which, according to the figures from the US Department of Agriculture, Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS), equates to a reduction of 16 per cent against last year.
The FAS also recorded a reduction in US softwood lumber exports for 1Q. At a total of 782,448 cubic metres, the exports were 4 per cent below the figure for a year earlier. The main reason for the drop was the 18 per cent reduction in exports to Asia, to 194,315 cubic metres whereby deliveries to China and Japan both fell sharply, by 15 per cent and 23 per cent respectively, to 122,840 cubic metres and 50.961 cubic metres.
US Forest Industry Performance: 1Q 2017
US forest industry performance in March and April was recently reported by both the US government and the Institute for Supply Management:
Total industrial production (IP) in the US increased 0.5 per cent in March (+1.5 per cent YoY), thanks to a largest-ever jump of 8.6 per cent in the output of utilities as the demand for heating returned to seasonal norms. For 1Q 2017 as a whole, total IP also rose at an annualized rate of 1.5 per cent, reported Forest2Market Tuesday.
While total IP stepped up in March, manufacturing output fell 0.4 per cent (+0.3 per cent expected), led by a large step-down in the production of motor vehicles and parts; factory output aside from motor vehicles and parts decreased by 0.2 per cent.
US TOTAL INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION
• The producer price index (PPI) also inched lower (-0.1 per cent), led by a 4.1 per cent drop in the index associated with loan services. The PPI rose 2.3 per cent YoY, the largest increase since March 2012’s 2.4 per cent.
• Pulp, Paper & Allied Products rose 0.5 per cent (+2.5 per cent YoY)
• Lumber & Wood Products: +1.0 per cent (+3.1 per cent YoY)
• Softwood Lumber: +2.3 per cent (+12.9 per cent YoY) Wood Fiber: +0.3 per cent (+0.5 per cent YoY)
US REMODELLING ACTIVITY
Pro-worthy remodeling activity nationwide recorded its 20th straight quarter of growth during 2017’s first three months and looks set to keep rising, albeit a bit more slowly, through 2020, this week’s release of Metrostudy‘s latest Residential Remodeling Index (RRI) indicates, according to Hanley Wood Monday.
The index hit a new high of 107.3, which means remodelling-friendly conditions are 7.3 per cent better than they were during the previous peak in spring 2007 and are 4.5 per cent ahead of where the index was in 2016’s first quarter. And unlike past years, in 2017 all 381 Metropolitan Statistical Areas across the country can expect to see year- over-year growth in remodeling and replacement projects.
Metrostudy, a sister company to REMODELING, extrapolates its RRI from a combination of economic indicators and other factors, such as remodelling permit counts, that together give a portrait of how many replacement and re- modeling jobs worth at least US$1,000 are occurring in each of the 381 MSAs. The national RRI is a composite of those local market reports.
There were roughly 11.4 million pro-worthy remodelling and replacement projects nationwide last year worth US$170.62 billion, Metrostudy estimates. This year, it predicts the number will rise to 11.9 million worth US$180.05 billion.
Contracts for new single-family home sales in the US declined 11.4 per cent to a 569,000 seasonally adjusted annual rate according to estimates from the joint data release of HUD and the Census Bureau Tuesday. The drop occurred after solid, positive revisions for new home sales for the first three months of the year.
All told, total new home sales for 2017 stand at 210,000, a 11.3 per cent gain over the 2016 comparable total of 189,000.
EXISTING HOME SALES
Existing home sales declined 2.3 per cent in April as inventory fell year-over-year for the 23rd consecutive month, while the velocity of sales increased to the highest level since the National Association of Realtors (NAR) began tracking the monthly sales timeframe.
At the current sales rate, the April unsold inventory represents a 4.2-month supply, up from the March 3.8-month supply, but down from a 4.6-month supply a year ago. April existing sales remain up 1.6 per cent from the same month a year ago, and reached a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.57 million compared to a downwardly revised 5.70 million in March. Total existing home sales include single-family homes, town- homes, condominiums and co-ops.
The number of single-family homes built-for-rent fell slightly at the start of 2017, falling to 6,000 for the quarter. Over the last four quarters, total production of this type of housing was 33,000 homes.
According to data from the Census Bureau’s Quarterly Starts and Completions by Purpose and Design and NAHB analysis, the market share of single-family homes built-for-rent, as measured on a one-year moving average, stood at 4.1 per cent of total starts as of the first quarter of 2017.
Given the small size of the market segment, the quarter-to-quarter movements are not typically statistically significant. The current market share remains higher than the historical average of 2.8 per cent but is down from the 5.8 per cent reading registered at the start of 2013.
US MULTIFAMILY BUILT-FOR-RENT
The share of multifamily housing starts built for-rent fell to a historical low of 47 per cent during the third quarter of 2005. It is currently (95 per cent) above the approximate 80 per cent share recorded during the 1980-2002 period due to elevated levels of rental demand.
The reason for some of the change in multifamily average size is due to market mix. Renters tend toward smaller units than owner-occupiers. In 2012, for example, the median size of all multifamily units completed was 1,098 square feet..