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Possible turnaround in sight for Swedish wood and furniture industry

2023 meant a big loss for the wooden house industry in terms of incoming orders, and above all it concerned single-family houses. It shows this year's first TMF in numbers, with statistics for the wood and furniture industry's sub-sectors. The total order intake for single-family homes decreased by 47 percent to 2,578 single-family homes in 2023. Furniture continues to hold steady figures, while kitchen furnishings show a negative trend for the first time since 2017.


'Factors such as the interest rate situation, the high inflation and the banks' restrictive stance have affected the wooden house industry very much,' says TMF market analyst Jakob Andrén.

In addition to the declining statistics regarding order intake, building permits applied for were halved by roughly 54 percent in 2023 compared to 2022. Started apartments - for both single-family houses and multi-dwelling buildings - decreased in total by 48.5 percent in 2023 to 29,350 dwellings, and it is thus the lowest level since 2012.

Building fittings – doors, windows and stairs and wooden floors – were significantly affected by inflation and the weak economy in 2023, where especially windows and stairs stand out and have also increased their sales prices significantly compared to inflation – by just over 15 percent.

Number of delivered air decreased by 30 percent in 2023 compared to 2022, which means the biggest loss for windows in several years.

Kitchen furnishings are also breaking a positive trend, where invoiced sales decreased for the first time since 2017 - by just over 11 percent.

The wood and furniture industry's strongest export branch, furniture, however, managed to maintain intact exports in 2023 (compared to 2022) – 22 billion – and production figures remain stable. One of the most remarkable things is that exports to Asia increased – to 19 percent. In terms of furniture imports, changes have also taken place in 2023 where the former largest country, China, reduced its imports in 2023 by 38% and thus Poland has now taken over first place.

According to Jakob Andrén, there are indications of a turnaround for the wood and furniture industries - starting with the house side - but it depends on a number of factors: 'A reduction in the key interest rate would undoubtedly have facilitated and increased demand for housing construction, but so far it is too early to determine even if we have seen bright spots in our own market reports for the first quarter of 2024. Above all, I would like to see a turnaround regarding started new constructions and housing in Statistics Sweden's half-yearly statistics first to get a signal that the market is ready for recovery.'

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