Japan Housing and Non-Residential Construction Starts – May 2023

Shawn Lawlor

By: Shawn Lawlor

Managing Director, Canada Wood Japan/COFI Japan

May 2023 Japan Housing Starts

For the first time in 4 months, Japan’s May total housing starts posted a 3.5% gain to finish at 69,561 units. While single family owner occupied housing fell 11.5%, rental housing increased 10.5% and the mansion condominium market gained 28.2%. The market for wooden housing remained challenging with total wooden starts down 3.0% to 37,259 units. Post and beam starts fell 8.2% to 28,033 units. Wooden prefab starts increased 25.3% to 873 units and total prefab housing edged up 4.2% to 9,369 units. Platform frame starts edged up 1.8% to 7,323 units. Results of 2×4 starts by housing type were as follows: single family custom homes fell 0.7% to 2,262 units, rental housing advanced 4.6% to 4,134 units and built for sale spec housing declined 5.6% to 907 units.

May 2023 Non-Residential Construction

While May total non-residential starts decreased 4.0% to 3,726 units, wooden non-residential starts increased 3.0% to 1,444 units. May wooden non-residential floor area posted a 13.9% gain to 314,747m2. For the first five months of 2023 wooden floor area increased 4.9% to 1,235,123m2. In particular business services or commercial buildings posted a strong showing, overtaking medical, elderly care and social welfare buildings as the leading segment of wooden non-residential construction. While we are seeing slowing growth in agricultural buildings and social welfare facilities, May results show greater market penetration of wood in commercial buildings with hotels/restaurants and business service buildings reaching 37% share by floor area.