February housing start statistics showed that the strengthening trend for wood framed homes in Japan is continuing. This was led by post & beam construction with an increase of 8.4%. Wooden pre-fab was next with an increase of 3.9% and 2×4 construction followed with a bump of 2.3%. Overall, wooden housing starts were up 6.4% and single family housing gained 2.2%.
Unfortunately the condo market is still in terrible shape with yet another monthly decline. In February, condo starts were down 57% dragging the overall housing starts down by 9.3%. Recent newspaper articles have been reporting that the high-end condo markets in central urban areas remains strong, thus suggesting that people with money and/or land in the case of single family homes are spending on housing while those that buy condos as a cheaper form of housing are still weary about their financial situations. Perhaps with Japan’s continueing economic recovery more people will feel confident enough to buy condos again and lift that market as well. However, with an oversupply situation still existing with lower priced condos in many areas, such a recovery is probably still a ways off.