Growth in U.S. domestic softwood lumber consumption is expected to continue next year and well into 2020 as the U.S. economic recovery (and particularly housing) builds momentum. While there are mainly supply-side constraints to a rapid ramping-up of the housing construction industry’s building capacity, the demand is expected to grow slowly but steadily. U.S. softwood lumber consumption is expected to approach 52 billion bf in 2019 and 55 billion bf in 2020.
Canadian consumption has remained positive in every quarter since 2015, but our forecast is not as robust as it once was: with high home prices limiting demand for new housing, we estimate Canadian consumption growth at just 3.3 per cent in 2018, and forecast 2.5 per cent growth in 2019 and 3.3 per cent in 2020. R&R markets will benefit from years of strong home sales as Canada’s manufacturing sector is bolstered by weakness in the Canadian dollar.