The San Francisco Chronicle reports that while construction techniques continue to improve, allowing stronger houses to be built with less wood, we're still using more wood overall.
The reason for this seeming paradox? The ever-increasing size of the individual house. While an average house in 1950 used 9 board-feet of lumber per square foot, a newer house uses only 8. But an average new house is twice the size of the average 1950's house.
Just as increased prices have decreased demand for gasoline and SUVs, We're wondering if the economic downturn might cause people to think twice about building a bigger house... are we at the peak? Or is the desire for a more spacious house an unchangeable part of human nature?