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Recent Developments in US Hardwood Lumber Markets and Linkages to Housing Construction

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Current Forestry Reports


Purpose of Review. The housing industry has long provided important markets for the higher-value hardwood lumber used in fixtures such as cabinets, flooring, and millwork. These markets have become even more important in the face of the decline in furniture manufacture in the USA. The importance of housing and other construction markets to the US hardwood industry is the focus of the current review. Recent Findings. The housing crisis that began in 2007 (from a construction data perspective) has had a profound impact on the hardwood industry by reducing demand for many products and hardwood industry employment, metrics that recently have started to recover. For higher-value hardwoods, exports have become a critical market in the face of historically low US housing starts. Industrial markets such as pallets and railway ties, traditionally markets for lower-value products, also have increased in relative importance in recent years. Summary. While housing starts are expected to eventually return to the long-term trend, an analysis of the current marketplace illustrates the importance of the construction markets to the hardwood industry. Potential new markets for emerging products that can make use of hardwoods also are derived from construction-based sectors, so the overall importance of housing and building construction to the hardwood industry is not likely to wane for the foreseeable future.


Housing starts; Value of construction; Housing fixtures; Hardwood lumber markets; Hardwood industry employment; Sales volume change


Buehlmann, Urs; Bumgardner, Matthew; Alderman, Delton. 2017. Recent Developments in US Hardwood Lumber Markets and Linkages to Housing Construction. Current Forestry Reports. 3(3): 213-222.

Last updated on: April 10, 2018