Housing starts in Japan rose 1.9 percent in February from a year earlier to 84,950 units for the third consecutive monthly increase.

The Land, Infrastructure and Transport Ministry said Wednesday the rise was due to increases in starts on both homes for rent and sale, which more than offset a fall in starts on owner-occupied homes.

Starts on owner-occupied homes declined 3.3 percent to 25,081 units, down for the first time in two months.

Starts on homes for rent gained 3.2 percent to 32,157 units for the third consecutive monthly rise.

Starts on homes built for sale increased 7.4 percent to 27,140 units, up for the sixth straight month. Of those, starts on condominiums rose 2.3 percent to 16,096 units, up for the fourth consecutive month.

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