Value of US building materials imports to Japan rises 38.1% in first eight months of 2013 to US$698.25M, with total import value up 26.6% to US$9.17B; housing starts rise to 88,539 units in September, up 19.4% year-over-year

LOS ANGELES , November 11, 2013 () – In the first eight months of 2013, the value of total building materials imports to Japan rose 26.6% to ¥900.5 billion (about US$9.17 billion at ¥98.20/US$), compared with ¥711.2 billion (about US$8.91 at ¥79.82/US$) in the same period in 2012, according to the latest data from the U.S. Commercial Service.

In the eight-month period, the value of building product imports from the U.S. rose 38.1% to ¥68.6 billion (US$698.25 million), from ¥49.7 billion (US$622.22 million) in the same period a year earlier.

Japanese imports of waferboard, OSB and particleboard rose 25.3% to ¥13,453 million from ¥10,740 million, according to data from Japan’s Ministry of Finance. Imports from the U.S. represented 0.2% of this total at ¥26 million, up 29.8% from ¥20 million in 2012.

Total imports of plywood and laminated wood panels rose 23.5% in value from ¥115,769 million to ¥142,968 million. Imports from the U.S. represented 0.1% of this total at ¥86 million, up 69.1% from ¥51 million in 2012.

The value of total joinery and lumber stud imports rose 34.3% from ¥70,133 million to ¥94,207 million. The U.S. contributed 2.1% to this total at ¥1,991 billion, up 27.2% from 2012 (¥1,565 billion).

Housing Starts

The Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism released housing starts data for September 2013 showing a total for the month of 88,539 units, up 19.4% from September 2012. For the first nine months of 2013, total starts were 708,404 units compared with 642,457 units in 2012 - an increase of 10.3%.

Of the total for September 2013, single-family housing starts accounted for 44,120 units, up 14.1% from September 2012. For the first nine months, starts in this category were 11.1% higher than in 2012, climbing from 321,488 to 357,069.

The number of row houses rose 2.3% in September to 8,326 units, and increased 6.7% in the first nine months from 66,935 to 71,441 units. Multi-family dwellings rose 31.9% in September to 36,093 units, and were up 10.2% in the first nine months from 254,034 units in 2012 to 279,894.

Meanwhile, 2x4 housing starts, which are not included in the total, were up 12.1% in September to 10,665 units, and prefabricated starts rose 13.8% to 12,545 units. In the first nine months, 2x4 starts climbed 14.4% from 74,571 to 85,323 units, and prefabricated starts rose 9.9% from 95,252 units in 2012 to 104,651 units.

The primary sources of this article are reports issued in November by the U.S. Commercial Service, Osaka-Kobe, Japan.

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