Home construction boosts lumber industry

A surge in home construction is helping to keep Alberta’s lumber mills buzzing.

A surge in home construction is helping to keep Alberta’s lumber mills buzzing.

The Alberta Forest Products Association reported on Thursday that its members generated $727.9 million in sales during the second quarter. That was a 10 per cent jump over the $661 million in revenues for the same three-month period in 2013, and a slight improvement on the $718 million recorded in the first quarter of this fiscal year.

“We’re continuing to see positive, sustainable growth in Alberta’s forest industry,” said AFPA president and CEO Paul Whittaker.

With housing starts in Alberta growing at the fastest rate in Canada, many of the forestry products being sold are construction-related.

“Wood is the largest component of new homes and we expect builders will use even more forest products when Alberta joins B.C. and Ontario in allowing construction of six-storey wood-frame multi-family buildings,” said Jim Rivait, CEO of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association — Alberta.

Whittaker pointed to increased mill efficiency and diversification of markets as other factors behind his industry’s recent gains.

On a product-by-product basis, lumber accounted for $318.2 million of AFPA members’ second-quarter sales, with pulp and paper adding $318.6 million and panelboard $91.2 million. For the same three months in 2013, lumber revenues totalled $290.1 million, pulp and paper $277.5 million, and panelboard $93.4 million.

The Alberta Forest Products Association represents lumber, panelboard, pulp and paper, and secondary manufacturing wood products companies operating in Alberta.

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