Wood Markets News

Housing Starts and Building Permits Increase in December, but Building Completions Fall Short

The U.S. Census Bureau reported on Wednesday (1-19-22) that privately‐owned housing starts in December were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 1,702,000. This is 1.4% above the revised November estimate of 1,678,000 and is 2.5% above the December 2020 rate of 1,661,000. Single-family housing starts in December were at a rate of 1,172,000. This is -2.3% below the revised November figure of 1,199,000.

U.S. Agricultural Secretary Announces “Paradigm Shift” to Address U.S. Wildfire Crisis

U.S. Agricultural Secretary Tom Vilsack and Forest Service Chief Randy Moore announced today (1-19-22) that they will be launching a comprehensive response to the nation’s growing wildfire crisis with a report entitled “Confronting the Wildfire Crisis: A Strategy for Protecting Communities and Improving Resilience in America’s Forests.” The strategy outlines the need to significantly increase fuels and forest health treatments to address the escalating crisis of wildfire danger that threatens millions of acres and numerous communities across the United States.

Canadian Consumer Price Index Increases 3.4% on an Annual Basis in 2021

Statistics Canada (StatsCan) reported today (1-19-22) that the Canadian Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased 3.4% on an annual average basis in 2021. This is the fastest pace since 1991 (+5.6%) and it follows a 0.7% increase in 2020. Excluding energy, the annual average CPI rose 2.4% in 2021 — a faster pace than the 1.3% recorded in 2020 and 2.3% in 2019. While annual average growth was 3.4% in 2021, price growth differed between the first half and second half of the year.

Increasing Home Prices Continue to Inhibit Renters From Becoming Homeowners

According to a recent study conducted by realtor.com, last year’s cost hikes in the price of new and existing homes for sale eliminated nearly one million renters from the ranks of potential homeowners. The study reports that the income a household needs to pay a mortgage for a median-price home climbed to $ 62,872 in 2021, up from $55,186 in 2020.

With Millennials Leading the Charge, Demand Continues to Drive the Housing Market Higher

Mark Fleming, First American’s chief economist said, “Potential home sales measures what the healthy market level of home sales should be based on economic, demographic, and housing market fundamentals. One of the most consistent drivers of housing market potential over the last year has been new household formation. Millennials are the largest generation in U.S. history, and the bulk of them are aging into their prime home-buying years.”

Mortgage Applications Increase for Second Consecutive Week During the Week Ending January 14, 2022

According to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Application Survey (WMAS), for the week ending January 14, 2022, the Market Composite Index — a measure of mortgage loan application volume — increased 2.3% on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 3% compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index decreased -3% from the previous week and was -49% lower than the same week one year ago.

Saskatchewan Forest Industry to Benefit from British Columbia’s Reduced Timber Basket

Despite its vast and mature forests, Saskatchewan forestlands have been under-utilized. That is until now. Over the past several weeks, the province has announced a reallocation of its forest resources, primarily located north of Saskatoon, and that will result in sizeable forest industry investments. Those forestland reallocations are expected, over the next two years, to lead to over a $1 billion dollars (CAD) in new investments in Saskatchewan’s forest industry.

Canadian Housing Starts Drop -22% from November to December

According to the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), the trend in housing starts was 260,567 units in December, down from 267,606 units in November. This trend measures a six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted rates of housing starts in Canada. The standalone monthly SAAR of housing starts for all areas in Canada was 236,106 units in December, a decline of -22% from 303,813 units in November.

Home Sales Decline Month-Over-Month and Year-Over-Year in December

Redfin reported on Friday (1-14-22) that there were fewer homes than ever available for sale in December. This drove seasonally adjusted home sales down -3.6% from November and -11% when compared to December 2020 — the largest month-over-month sales decline since May 2020. On the other hand, home prices surged 15% higher year-over-year, marking the 17th consecutive month of double-digit home price increases.

HS Timber Group GmbH Announces the Restructuring of its Romanian Operations in the Suceava Region

Parts of the operations in Rădăuți, specifically the sawmilling operations, will cease. However, the production of posts and beams at the site will remain in operation. The panel plant in Siret, which processes sawn timber from the Rădăuți mill, will be closed down in its entirety. With this step, the cutting capacity of HS Timber Group’s sawmills in Romania will be reduced by 30%.