• Kyodo News

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Housing starts in January rose 2.7 percent from a year earlier to 66,709 units, as banks’ offers of preferential lending rates to mortgage takers and the government’s Eco-point incentive program boosted demand for condominiums and owner-occupied houses, the government said Monday.

The figure represented the eighth straight month of year-on-year expansion, according to the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry.

“Although we can see signs of a rebound (in housing starts), they have remained at a low level,” a ministry official said.

By category, housing starts for condominiums for sale surged 31.1 percent to 10,435 units, with those for single-family homes for sale gaining 14.6 percent to 9,377 units, the ministry said.

Starts for owner-occupied houses rose 5.5 percent to 22,299 units, while those for rental houses dropped 11.3 percent to 23,989 units.

By region, housing starts slipped 3.0 percent in the Tokyo metropolitan region, while those in the Chubu region centering on Nagoya eked out a 0.9 percent gain.

Those in the Kinki region including Osaka rose 1.3 percent, while those in the rest of the nation increased 11.3 percent.

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