TDUK Head of Technical and Trade Nick Boulton suggested these early year figures may indicate 2023 may not be as bad as some had feared.

The increase was due to a good start to the year for the RMI market, which was up 11.4% in February compared to last year.

Though softwood totals are up, overall timber volumes are 6% lower than in the corresponding period in 2022.

This is largely due to reduced hardwood and plywood volumes, which are down 29% and 30% respectively.

TDUK Head of Technical and Trade Nick Boulton said the positive figures for the first two months of 2023 were surprising given private housing and RMI markets are forecast to contract during 2023, according to the Construction Products Association (CPA).

The CPA prediction was for a 17% decline in private housing and a 9% decline in RMI post-spring 2023. 

Mr Boulton however cautioned on comparisons with last year as 2022 opening volumes were very low as were Q4 imports and so these figures may just be rebalancing of stocks.

“Higher mortgage rates along with the broader cost of living increases mean the ability to move along the property ladder is weaker,” he said.

“This slump, however, is likely to be temporary, with the CPA predicting RMI and private housing recovery in 2024."

For the full statistics report visit TDUK.