Lumber Facts

Building and Lumber Forecast:
Surge in Construction Across State
Will Continue in 2017

By: James Keller, President of Hawaii Lumber Products Association (HLPA)
and Armstrong Builders LLC

Hawaii’s construction boom spread beyond just Oahu over 2016 and current and new projects are expected to make 2017 a very healthy year for the industry. Nearly 5,000 new construction jobs were created statewide in the first of half of 2016, according to the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization’s (UHERO) state forecast released last September. Construction projects from residential to commercial and government will help maintain positive growth from last year to this year.

Residential construction will be one of the prime drivers for the building sector as the need for more housing intensifies with Hawaii’s growing population. The supply of new housing will continue to expand with high-rises in the Kakaako/Ala Moana area and single-family homes in the Hoopili and Koa Ridge developments in West Oahu. The lumber industry will see a major boost this year as wood products remain the preferred building material for single-family homes.

It’s not only the lumber and construction industries that will enjoy positive growth this year, with indicators pointing toward continued economic expansion for the state overall. Hawaii’s unemployment rate remained low throughout last year at 3.3 percent and is expected to increase slightly in 2017 to 3.4 percent, according to the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism’s (DBEDT) fourth quarter report for 2016. The report also forecasts a 2.6 percent increase in real personal income, which puts individuals and families in a better position to purchase homes.

Along with construction, tourism has continued to see impressive gains over the last few years. Well over 9 million tourists are expected to pump more than $16 billion into the local economy in 2017, a 4 percent bump in visitor expenditures from 2016, according to DBEDT. More visitors equates to the need for more hotel rooms, and projects statewide are aiming to meet that demand. The use of wood in multi-level commercial projects like hotels and retail stores has become a popular trend in Hawaii. Examples of these structures include the Pi’ilani Suites Hotel in Wailea, Maui and Hawaii’s first Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton in Kapolei. With conditions on multiple fronts pointing toward growth, including construction, personal income and tourism, the state economy is poised for a bright year. The lumber and building sectors will undoubtedly benefit from multiple sources as housing and infrastructure demands rise to meet the needs of residents and visitors.

For more information about lumber and the benefits of building with wood, please visit Hawaii Lumber Products Association at

Who is HLPA?

Founded in 2003, Hawaii Lumber Products Association (HLPA) has diligently worked toward the goals of education and promoting the benefits of building with wood. As Hawaii’s only devoted lumber association, HLPA has members here and across the mainland, comprised of professionals representing the development and construction industry.

HLPA promotes lumber products as a preferred building material based on the proven track record of wood and its achievement of long-term performance success in Hawaii's construction industry. Wood is a renewable building material resource that provides benefits to the environment, produces sound construction economics, creates architectural flexibility and meets the highest structural engineering standards.