Housing starts hit three-year low

JIJI

Housing starts in May dropped 15 percent from the year before to 67,791 units, the lowest for the month in three years, the land ministry said Monday.

The figure fell for the third straight month with a sharp drop-off in construction starts for custom-built houses, which met a rush of demand before the consumption tax hike on April 1.

Orders for owner-occupied housing including custom-built houses fell 22.9 percent to 22,288 units. Starts for housing for sale including condominiums and ready-built houses sank 27.1 percent to 17,437 units. Both figures dropped for the fourth consecutive month.

On the other hand, starts for rental housing rose 3.1 percent to 27,434 units, up for the 15th month straight, thanks to growing demand related to an inheritance tax hike in January 2015.