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Housing starts hit highest since ’06

Kyodo

Housing starts nationwide rose 14.1 percent in November from a year earlier to 91,475 units, the highest level since 2006 for the month, the government said.

The figure represented the 15th straight monthly gain, the land ministry said.

“The number of people who decided to build homes appears to have risen as their confidence in the state of the economy has brightened,” a ministry official said.

Starts on owner-occupied homes climbed 22.6 percent for the 15th consecutive monthly gain, while those on rental housing jumped 17.1 percent for the ninth straight month, the ministry said.

Although the consumption tax will be raised to 8 percent in April, consumers can take advantage of the current 5 percent rate as long as they signed home construction contracts with home builders by Sept. 30.

The rise in construction starts in November stemmed from the surge in people who signed contracts by the deadline for buying homes under the current tax rate. The lower rate is applied regardless of when the new homes are delivered to the purchasers.

Starts on homes for sale by developers fell 1.0 percent mainly because condominium starts dropped 14.6 percent.

By region, housing starts rose 6.8 percent in the Tokyo metropolitan area and 17.3 percent in the Chubu region including Nagoya.

Those in the Kinki region centering on Osaka soared 37.9 percent.