After a terrible 2009, the Japanese housing industry entered 2010 praying for a recovery. Now that the final statistics are in, we can officially say that 2010 was a comeback year. Overall, housing starts were up 3.1% for a total of 813,126. This represented the first increase in two years.
As expected, the greater Tokyo area was the engine of growth. Kanto saw starts jump 7.4% in 2010. The greater Osaka area also showed strength with an increase of 3.3%.
Breaking these numbers down by market segment, post and beam had a great year growing by 7.9% to 350,114 starts. Not to be outdone, 2×4 also posted an impressive gain of 4.9% to 95,880. This helped the 2×4 system to take a market share of 11.8%, up from 11.6%. Total wood starts came to 460,127 for a market share of 56.6%, the highest in a quarter century.
As we get ready for the Nikkei Show in early March, the most encouraging aspect of these statistics is the fact that starts really came on strong in the 2nd half of 2010 with December representing the 7th consecutive month of increases. Even the long dormant but crucial condo market came on strong during this period. In December, condo starts were up a whopping 64.5%. This is a clear indication that developers are now feeling confident in the housing market again and are committing to building more units. Hopefully this positive housing situation will be felt by BC Wood members at the Nikkei Show and will result in good business opportunities.