Weyerhaeuser to export OSB to Japan
Weyerhaeuser will soon produce oriented strand board (OSB) for export to Japan, the company has announced. The OSB panels are used in both residential and commercial construction in Japan, as wall and roof sheathing and as structural flooring panels.
The Weyerhaeuser OSB mill in Hudson Bay, Saskatchewan, Canada will produce the material under a JAS certification received from the APA in February. The mill will use a proprietary formulation specifically engineered to meet JAS strength and stiffness criteria, as well as the stringent F4 requirements for formaldehyde emission levels. Production to this standard will begin in April with the first material arriving in Japan in May.
"We are very excited to be entering the Japan market," said Chad Kelly, Hudson Bay mill manager. "This is a great fit for us in terms of our wood supply and our production strengths. We have a nine-foot-wide press so we can produce three-foot-wide material very efficiently."
The Hudson Bay mill will produce JAS-certified panels in standard sizes-such as 910mm x1820mm (approximately three feet by six feet) and 910mm x2730mm (three feet by nine feet) to align with Japanese building practices, as well as custom sizes. Thicknesses from 9.0mm to 28mm will meet the appropriate JAS classifications.
With over 50 years of experience in the Japanese housing market, Weyerhaeuser has representatives for engineered wood products, lumber, and pulp in the Weyerhaeuser Tokyo office.
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A slight dip in month-to-month pending home sales
Pending home sales were down slightly in February but remain notably above the pattern in the first half of last year, according to the National Association of Realtors.
The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, eased 0.5% to 96.5 in February from 97.0 in January but is 9.2% above February 2011 when it was 88.4. The data reflects contracts but not closings.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said we’re seeing the continuation of an uneven but higher sales pattern. “The spring home buying season looks bright because of an elevated level of contract offers so far this year,” he said. “If activity is sustained near present levels, existing-home sales will see their best performance in five years. Based on all of the factors in the current market, that’s what we’re expecting with sales rising 7% to 10% in 2012."
The PHSI in the Northeast slipped 0.6% to 77.7 in February but is 18.4% above a year ago. In the Midwest, the index jumped 6.5% to 93.8 and is 19.0% higher than February 2011. Pending home sales in the South fell 3.0% to an index of 105.8 in February but are 7.8% above a year ago. In the West, the index declined 2.6% in February to 99.3 and is 1.8% below February 2011.
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In fact, the housing market
In fact, the housing market has been one of the weakest parts of the U.S. economy. Recent economic data really show it is starting to get back on track after a price collapse that began 5 1/2 years ago--though the market still remains uneven. The middle-class people still use cash loans online to stay afloat Mortgage rates have been hovering around the lowest recorded levels, employers have stepped up hiring and economists' forecasts have become less gloomy.
Weak orders, rising cancellations at KB Home
KB Home, one of the nation’s largest home builders, reported revenues for its first fiscal quarter of $254.6 million, up 29% from $196.9 million for the first quarter of 2011, reflecting higher deliveries and an increase in the average selling price.
KB Home posted a $45.8 million loss for the quarter, which ended Feb. 29, 2012, compared with a $114.5 million loss in the first period a year ago.
Homes delivered increased 21% to 1,150, up from 949 homes delivered in the year-earlier quarter. Three of the company’s four regions produced higher deliveries.
An increase in the cancellation rate to 36% from 29% in the year-earlier quarter led to a year-over-year decrease in net orders. These totaled 1,197 in the first quarter of 2012, down 8% from 1,302 net orders in the year-earlier quarter; a 22% increase in the company’s central region was more than offset by decreases in each of the home builder’s three other regions.
The company had a backlog of 2,203 homes as of Feb. 29, 2012, compared with a backlog of 1,689 homes a year ago. Backlog homes and value at Feb. 29, 2012, each increased 30% year over year. Each of the company’s four regions posted year-over-year increases in backlog value at the end of the 2012 first quarter.
The average selling price rose 6% to $219,000 from $205,700 for the year-earlier quarter, reflecting increases in the company’s West Coast and southwest regions that were partly offset by decreases in its central and southeast regions.
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