Japan Housing Starts Summary for May 2018
Total May housing starts fell 1.3% to 79,539 units. The declines were uneven based on markets and building types. The mansion condominium market posted the strongest results with a 20.7% increase. Wooden starts fell 3.0% to 43,399 units. Pre-fab housing fell 11.5% to 9,870 units. Post and beam housing held firm with 34,078 units. Platform frame starts fell significantly with a 12.2% drop to 8,464 units. The decrease was led by a 20.4% drop in rental housing. Owner occupied starts fell 2.4% to 2,564 units, however, built for sale speculative housing increased 6.0% to 1,264 units. While this is only the first month that we see PFC significantly underperform when compared to P&B, the trend is concerning: recent feedback from builders and component plants suggest that the recent run-up in dimension lumber prices is making it increasingly difficult to compete versus P&B.