U.S. EWP production to rise 20% by 2020: APA

Glulam beams in a ski resort. Photo credit: APA – The Engineered Wood Association

Housing starts in the U.S. are projected at 1.5 million units by end 2020 with a concurrent growth in engineered wood products output ranging from 19–28 percent during this period, according to the 2016 Structural Panel & Engineered Wood Yearbook released by APA – The Engineered Wood Association.

Driven by healthy employment gains over the last three years, annual household growth in the U.S. is back to the 1.2 million level, with demand for new housing units also back to the 1.5–1.6 million unit level.

American plywood used in mid-rise building. Photo credit: APA- The Engineered Wood Association

Buoyed by low interest rates, which are expected to remain below 4 percent for most of 2016, construction of new single-family homes in the first quarter of 2016 was up almost 5 percent from the pace of the fourth quarter of 2015, the highest quarterly starts rate since the fourth quarter of 2007.

While demand for homes is currently high in the U.S., the primary concern for the rest of 2016 and for the next several years is the ability of the supply-side forces to respond to this improvement. Home builders report that factors including a lack of developed lots and the shortage of skilled construction labour have combined to constrain their ability to respond to the increased demand for housing.

The yearbook also analyses the U.S., Canadian and global economies, focusing on factors that impact demand for engineered wood products across several market segments over the next five years.