H2F Sales Softening
Having risen to prominence over the last several years and riding the housing boom hard, sales of Treated Structural H2F may have ceased growing, succumbing to the pressures affecting domestic softwood sales. Having hit a twentieth consecutive month-ending record of 535,019 m3 for the year ending April 2015, sales have slipped over the last three months, falling to 527,187 m3 for the year-ending July 2015.
Monthly data can move around reasonably sharply, making the year-ending data more reliable as a barometer of the strength of a market. However, it is difficult to escape the month of July when it comes to H2F sales.
Each July sees a large lift in sales compared to the prior month, in the lead up to the spring home building season. In July 2013, sales rose 34.8% compared with the prior month. In July 2014, the rise was 21.2% and the 52,977 m3 remains the monthly sales record. In July 2015, the month-on month rise was 9.0%.
The chart below shows the details.
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The July 2015 sales data is all the more relevant because although the 48,299 m3 of recorded sales is the third highest month on record, it is 8.8% lower than the record in July 2014.
H2F has found its way into the market and into a position where it may soon rival the Structural <120 grade for dominance of domestic sales. Its sustained growth has outstripped growth in other grades and has doubtless been kicked along by the strength of the current housing market. If H2F’s performance is increasingly the barometer by which we measure the prospects of the entire sawn wood sector, this decline in sales may well be heralding a structural change of significance.