There's a good bit of informed conjecture that housing is going to continue to make headway against impediments in Weyerhaeuser's acquisition of smaller rival Plum Creek Timber, according to Wall Street Journal staffer Mark Esterl.
Esterl looks at how fragmented the timber industry is, maybe ripe for further consolidation, but unlikely to be dominated by any single player in the business. The math of the merger makes more sense assuming that housing will continue to recover. Esterl writes:
Construction of single-family homes in the U.S. has rebounded from its nadir in 2011, but the home-building industry still has a long way to go to return to normal levels. In September, U.S. home construction was on a seasonally adjusted annual pace to construct 740,000 single-family homes this year. That is 72% more than at the housing downturn’s trough in 2011.However, the current construction pace still represents only 54% of the industry’s average annual production from 2001 to 2003, the time frame that the National Association of Home Builders considers to be the latest normal market for home construction.