Treated structural softwood leads domestic sales pack

Over little more than five years, treated or seasoned structural timber – the H2F grade – has grown from a solid participant in the supply of Australia’s sawn softwood, to be the leader of the pack. The grade, essentially a value-added product, has shifted from a geographically specific product, to be as utterly ubiquitous as a… well a 4 x 2.

The rise and rise of H2F can be seen in the decadal chart below, which records that for the year-ended May 2017, sales totaled 759,520 m3. A decade earlier, in the year-ended May 2007, they totaled just 279,303 m3. The average 10.5% per annum increase in sales over the decade is a very strong performance by any measure, but especially so because the bulk of the increases have come in the second half of the decade.

stats july 12

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Until late 2012, sales of H2F were at a plateau, having hovered just above 350,000 m3 per annum since late 2010. However, as what we now know as the longest sustained housing boom in Australia’s history commenced, sales began to increase.

At first, the increases were in line with those of the untreated equivalent – Structural <120 mm – but soon, started to outstrip sales growth for all other grades. That was solid performance, but more impressive was that the growth was sustained right through until just a few months ago.

Even now, as the housing boom shudders to a halt, H2F has earned itself top spot on the softwood sales leaderboard. As the pie chart below shows, H2F has gone from a contributor, to be the leading sawn softwood product.

stats july 13