Canada Wood Today | The Canada Wood Group

Popularity of 2×4 Rising for Tohoku Housing

Shawn Lawlor

By Shawn Lawlor

Managing Director, Canada Wood Japan

May 2, 2012

Tohoku Housing Reconstruction Trends:

Selco Home’s Hear Architect Mr. Sugiura in front of newly opened 2x4 Showhome in Nagamachi (South Sendai).

Canada Wood recently visited Sendai’s largest 2×4 home builder, Selco Home Co., Ltd. and interviewed the company on recent building trends in the Sendai region. The company’s head architect Mr. Sugiura commented that the popularity of 2×4 housing is rising dramatically since the impact of the March 11th earthquake. When asked why this was the case, Mr. Sugiura pointed to the fact that not a single 2×4 home suffered complete structural failure as a result of the earthquake – which was not the case with alternative forms of housing. Although buyer perceptions held that steel was the strongest structural material against earthquakes, there is evidence that steel housing did suffer earthquake related structural failure in certain cases. It is also widely known in the Tohoku region that when the tsunami struck there were several cases of 2×4 homes being physically lifted from their foundations and later deposited in tact by the tsunami at other locations. Locals are impressed. Word of mouth testimony of these stories appears to be supporting buyer preferences for 2×4.

In addition, it was reported that those families that were housed in emergency temporary housing showed high levels of satisfaction with the sound and thermal insulation properties of wood frame housing. As these occupants begin to look for permanent housing, according to Selco Homes they are demonstrating a preference for 2×4. Asked if there was any way that he might quantify this increased popularity, Mr. Sugiura pointed to the fact that at a newly opened housing park, 6 of the 12 companies with show homes at the site were selling 2×4 homes. The company advises that they are currently closing nearly twice the amount of new orders compared to year prior levels. Indeed, new home buyers in the Sendai region now face a one year waiting list before their homes can be built. The company expects strong housing demand in the region for the next 3 to 5 years.