Demand for residential decking and railing—battered by recent double-digit declines—is expected to increase by 10 percent in 2010, with wood gaining ground against synthetic materials, according to a new forecast.
The North American decking and railing market plummeted from $4.6 billion in 2006 to $2.8 billion in 2009, due to job losses, tight credit, devalued homes, the inability to tap into home equity to finance home improvement projects, and record lows in consumer confidence, research firm Principia Partners reports in a new study.
An increase in housing starts and modest growth in remodeling and replacement (R&R) activity will increase the demand for decking and railing, on a value basis, about 10% in 2010 from its bottom in 2009, the Exton, Pa.,-based company reports.
About 6% of the growth will result from volume growth and 4% from product mix and a slight recovery in wood prices. Pent-up demand from consumers will help support decking and railing growth in 2010. Total decking and railing demand is expected to increase from $2.8 billion in 2009 to $3.1 billion in 2010.
Decking’s return brings another shift in the market, Principia reports: Wood is regaining share from synthetics, which include wood-plastic composites, primarily driven by demand elasticity due to lumber deflation. Meanwhile, prices for raw materials used in petroleum-based synthetics have increased significantly.
Wood market share, on a volume basis, hit a low in 2007, maintained its position in 2008, and reversed in 2009, the company says.
“Although the entire synthetic category has lost share to wood, demand for cellular vinyl decking has been growing at a double digit rate while the demand for polyolefin-based WPCs has decreased,” says Steve Van Kouteren, a Principal at Principia Partners.
“The future is brighter for decking and railing as homeowner desire for quality leisure time and outdoor living in the backyard or front porch of the home is part of the fabric of American living,” Principia reports.
Composite Decking & Railing is available through www.PrincipiaConsulting.com.