Housing starts up for 11th month

Kyodo

Housing starts nationwide rose 12.0 percent in July from a year earlier to 84,459 units for the 11th straight monthly increase, due to improved consumer confidence, the government said Friday.

Starts on owner-occupied houses rose 11.1 percent for the 11th straight monthly rise, while those on rental houses increased 19.4 percent, up for the fifth consecutive month, according to the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry.

Starts on homes for sale by developers rose 4.3 percent and condominium starts rose by 0.6 percent, both for the third straight monthly increase.

The ministry said the robust trend in housing construction is due to improved consumer confidence amid a gradual recovery from the sharp fall in 2009 brought on by the global financial crisis.

It said it will continue to carefully monitor factors affecting housing construction such as employment and income conditions, reconstruction from the March 2011 disasters and home loan interest rate trends.