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For the first time in several years, all of the major end-use markets for wood products are expected to move in concert and increase this year. Housing, the largest market for many products, is expected to increase 10% this year when U.S. and Canadian starts are combined, according to APA -- The Engineered Wood Association.
“There is a little more life to engineered wood demand this year. Last year, we were just treading water,” said Craig Adair, APA’s market research director. “This year, we’re expecting demand to pick up from 4% to 11% depending on the product.”
Although the Great Recession in the U.S. ended in mid-2009, the recovery has been uneven, and only now is the U.S. economy showing signs of sustainable growth. Adair noted that single-family housing is still plagued with several obstacles, including banks that are reluctant to lend and more foreclosures on the way. Single-family construction is expected to improve in 2012, but it should have a more meaningful recovery in 2013.
“It may not be a lack of consumer demand that’s holding housing back; it’s more likely a financial system that currently doesn’t freely accommodate residential mortgages, and it could take years to repair and reorganize the system,” Adair said. Meanwhile, the demand for rental housing is so great that apartment construction has picked up along with a wave of investment in existing single-family rental housing.”
Nonresidential construction is showing signs of a turnaround in 2012. Remodeling and industrial markets are expected to increase again in 2012. Exports to Asia, Mexico and the Caribbean should continue to improve.