Japan 2×4 Housing Starts Roar Back in April

Shawn Lawlor

By: Shawn Lawlor

Managing Director, Canada Wood Japan/COFI Japan

For the first time in 11 months, Japan’s housing starts posted solid, if uneven gains. Total housing starts jumped 13.9% to 76,583 units. While owner occupied starts fell 3.9%, rental starts increased 20.6%. Wooden starts improved 4.4% to 38,809 units. Among wooden starts, 2×4 is showing relative strength. Post and beam starts fell 2.3% to 28,923 units. Wooden pre-fab fell 14.9% to 822 units and total pre-fab fell 6.4% to 7,845 units. Two by four starts jumped 37.4% to 9,064 units. Broken down 2×4 construction by building type, single family custom homes increased 4.1% to 2,368 units; rental housing surged 77% to 5,931 units and buit for sale spec homes declined 22.5% to 746 units. While it was positive to see starts improving, one thing to note is that the recovery is being led by the multi-family segment and as a result average floor area is showing a decreasing trend. Average April wooden housing floor area is down 6.4% to 88.23m2.