USA Market Update

Posted by Dave Farley
November 1st, 2010

A few comments, meanderings and observations over the last few weeks that might be of interest to the industry…

I read an article in Friday’s edition of the Wall Street Journal titled “Recovery in building is forecast in 2011”. Amongst the highlights of the article were that US construction starts, both residential and commercial, were expected to reach $ 445 billion in 2011 – an 8 % increase from 2009. In residential construction, the most important sector for the BC forest industry a 27% increase in housing starts, predicting a total figure of $127 billion. Commercial construction is expected to increase 16% in 2011 for a total of $45 billion.

This is positive news considering the morbid state of construction across the US, but to put it into perspective, the dollar figure of $127 billion for residential starts is still a whopping 60% below the peak which was reached 2005. This stat alone tells you how far the US housing market has fallen over the past 5 years.

I attended the BuildEx 2010 trade event in Seattle this past week. This show is part of the Buildex group of trade events with shows also in Vancouver and Calgary. The Seattle show has always been the smallest of the 3 shows and this year was no exception. I give credit to the show organizers for trying a new format which they called “BuildEX Express”, but a number of exhibitors that I spoke to were concerned about the cost for a 4 hour event, regardless of how many attendees were signed up. It seems that the show organizers will have to continue to tweak the format in order to find a happy medium for exhibitors and attendees alike.

It could be the dreary West coast weather, or more likely that the high-end residential and light commercial construction sector is rebounding in the state of Hawaii. For this event we are sold out and 6 member companies will be participating in the AIA Pacific tradeshow and mission November 8 -12. The event consists of a trade show followed by a 4 day mission to meet with builders, architects and developers from across the State of Hawaii. Initial feedback from builders in the market suggests that construction activity is expected to increase in the early spring 2011, with a number of projects getting ready to break ground. I will report on the trip and subsequent opportunities uncovered in the next Wood Connections newsletter.

As always, for more information on the United States market, please feel free to contact me at

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