Housing starts in July reached their highest level in 17 years, according to the US Department of Commerce.

The biggest growth area was in single-family starts which rose 1.9% to an annual rate of 1.52 million homes and the Southern Forest Products Association (SFPA) predicts this could be good news for the timber industry.

Growth is also forecast at the other end of the scale. In its latest newsletter, the SFPA said: “As the baby boomer generation reaches retirement age, many are making plans to spend more time in the south-east. Expect strong wood demand to continue in this region as new homes, second homes, and vacation lodgings become reality.”