Canada Wood Today | The Canada Wood Group

Japan Economy & Housing Starts

Shawn Lawlor

By Shawn Lawlor

Director, Canada Wood Japan

May 29, 2017

Japan Q1 GDP grew at an annualized 1.2% rate. February industrial production posted a solid growth of 4.7%. February unemployment held at 2.8%, its lowest level since the early 1990s. The consumer price index edged up 0.2% in February. Japan posted a large current account surplus of US $187 billion in February. Japan’s GDP growth forecast for 2017 is at 1.2%. 

Japan Housing Starts Summary 

Japanese Monthly Housing Starts Summary for January 2017

January total housing starts increased 12.8% to 76,491 units thanks primarily to a jump in rental housing. Rental housing saw growth of 12% compared to a decline of 0.2% in owner occupied housing. January results were boosted by a 38% surge in non-wood housing. Wooden housing gained 4.2% to 39,079 units. Of wooden housing, post and beam starts increased 4.9% to 29,714 units; wooden pre-fab declined 12.8% to 1,057 units, and 2×4 starts gained 4.0% to 8,308 units. Two by four owner occupied custom homes advanced 6.6% to 2,260 units, multi-family apartments increased 2.0% to 4,901 units and built for sale spec homes grew 6.6% to 1,129 units.

Japanese Monthly Housing Starts Summary for February 2017

February housing starts trailed 2.6% to finish at 70,912 units. Total wooden starts edged up 2.5% to 39,587 units, however the non-wood “mansion” condominium market fell 35.7% after experiencing a surge the month prior. Post and beam starts improved 3.4% to 30,023 units. Wooden pre-fab starts were flat at 1,057 units. Two by four starts declined 0.3% and broke down as follows: custom owner occupied declined 4.2% to 2,220 units, built for sale spec homes dropped 10.4% to 970 units and rentals improved 4.3% to 5,303 units.

Japanese Monthly Housing Starts Summary for March 2017

March total housing starts registered a faint increase of 0.2%, finishing at 75,887 units. Although owner occupied housing starts fell 3.6%, rentals posted an 11% gain. Rental housing recorded a 17th consecutive monthly gain. Total wood starts posted a small 0.9% gain thanks to strength in the post and beam segment. Post and beam starts increased 2.9% to 31,471 units. Wooden pre-fab starts slid 7.4% to 949 units. Two by four starts declined 4.6% to 9,116 units broken down as follows: custom built owner occupied fell 8.0% to 2,161 units; rentals gained 0.5% to 5,921 units and built for sale spec homes declined 5.0% to 1,011 units.