The APA – The Engineered Wood Association has released its 2018 Structural Panel & Engineered Wood Yearbook. The yearbook includes an analysis of the U.S., Canadian, and global economies, focusing on factors that impact demand for engineered wood products across several market segments as a basis for forecasting expected production of engineered wood products. Besides the analysis and forecast, the yearbook also includes historical data on engineered wood production. Topics examined in the yearbook include:
• Residential construction in the U.S. and Canada, new and repair/remodel
• Nonresidential and industrial markets
• North American imports and exports
• Outlook and production statistics for structural panels (OSB and plywood), including historical data
• Engineered wood product demand and production (glulam, I-joists, and LVL)
Little has changed in terms of the supply-side constraints that have inhibited home builders and apartment developers from responding to the increased demand for new housing units. Unemployment in the construction industry is at an historic low and lot supply is tight. Adding to these concerns for the prospective level of residential construction is the policy decisions made in Washington, D.C. Tax cuts have been enacted and additional spending over previously budgeted amounts at the federal government level will push the federal government’s budget deficit toward or above $1 trillion in 2019 and 2020, and perhaps beyond. This is occurring at the same time that the Federal Reserve will be reducing its holding of U.S. Treasury securities and mortgage-backed securities. The possible collision in the credit markets heightens our concern about how high long-term interest rates could go and its impact on the ability of young householders to buy a home.
Despite these concerns, household growth in the U.S. has picked up and housing starts in 2017 of 1.2 million units were insufficient to keep up with demand for both owner and renter occupied units. The forecast calls for housing starts in the U.S. to approach 1.3 million units in 2018. Single-family starts are projected to account for roughly 70 percent of the starts. Canadian housing starts in 2017 were near 220,000 and projected at 210,000 units in 2018.
The entire 2018 market forecast, including all market segments and production outlook, as well as statistical data, is included in APA’s 2018 Structural Panel & Engineered Wood Yearbook, Form MKOE184. The yearbook can be purchased for $275 at www.apawood.org.