US Housing and Lumber

US Housing Starts

Figure 1 shows monthly US housing starts since 2002.

Figure 1. US Housing Starts

Source: US Department of Commerce

US Softwood Lumber Availability

The chart for softwood lumber availability (Figure 2) looks very similar to the chart for US housing starts. “Lumber Availability” is the domestic production (total production minus exports) plus imports (often called Apparent Consumption). Note that Canada provides a substantial portion of the softwood lumber available in the US.

Figure 2. US Softwood Lumber Availability

Sources: US Department of Commerce, Western Wood Products Association, Southern Forest Products Association

US Hardwood Lumber Availability

US hardwood lumber availability is much less correlated with US housing starts (Figure 3). This is due in part to the industrial (non-housing) uses for hardwood lumber and the lag between when houses are started and hardwood-based products (floors, cabinets, furniture, etc.) are installed in houses.

Figure 3. US Hardwood Lumber Availability

Sources: US Department of Commerce, Hardwood Market Report