Canada Wood Today | The Canada Wood Group

Japan Economy, Housing & Lumber Shipments

Shawn Lawlor

By Shawn Lawlor

Director, Canada Wood Japan

April 13, 2016

Japan Economic Update: Land Values on the Rise Again thanks to Boom in Tourism

In its annual survey of 25,000 locations across the nation, MLIT recently reported that Japan’s commercial and residential real estate posted the first increase since 2007. The total national average of commercial and residential real estate posted a small gain of 0.1%. However, this average masks regional and sector specific trends. The average gain in commercial real estate values was 0.9% nationwide. In metropolitan areas such as Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya land values grew dramatically in some cases. The popular tourist shopping area of Shinsaibashi in Osaka saw commercial land values jump 45.1%. Other popular tourist destinations also experienced double digit increases. Record breaking inflows of tourists in 2015 played a key role in supporting price increases at prime locations. Although major metropolitan areas benefited, land values continued to decline at nearly 70% of the locations surveyed – primarily in rural areas. The trends underscore a growing trend towards a concentration of population and wealth in major urban centres versus declining population and asset values in rural areas.

Japan Housing Starts Summary 

Japanese Monthly Housing Starts Summary for January 2016

January total housing starts posted a meagre 0.2% increase to 67,815 units. Owner occupied single family starts fell 0.1%, however, rental housing posted a 5.3% increase.  The mansion condominium market fell 19.2% for the fifth consecutive monthly decline.

Total wooden housing increased 3.6% to 37,516 units. Post and beam starts gained 5.9% to 28,314 units. Wooden pre-fab starts declined 2.3% to 1,212 units. Platform frame starts fell 2.9% to 7,990 units; with custom ordered single family homes up 0.2% to 2,120 units, rentals off 5.6% to 4,806 units and built for sale 2×4 spec housing increasing 4.5% to 1,059 units.

B.C. Softwood Exports to Japan

Japan BC total softwood lumber shipments to Japan edged 0.75% lower to 158,825m3 in January. SPF shipments increased 0.8% to 109,258m3 and Hem Fir shipments increased 9.4% to 26,988m3, however, Douglas Fir shipments declined 22.2% to 14,348m3. By value softwood exports increased 3.6% to $57.7 million.