Japan's housing starts unexpectedly drop 4.6% on year in May

19:49, June 30, 2010      

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Japan's housing starts dropped 4.6 percent in May from a year earlier, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism said in a report on Wednesday.

The figure in the recording month was far lower than the median forecast for a 4.0 percent rise in May on year and reverses the 0. 6 percent rise logged in April.

The figures revealed that annualized housing starts in May stood at a seasonally adjusted 737,000 compared to 793,000 in April, missing the consensus forecast for 810,000 housing starts.

The ministry said that owner occupied houses rose on year in May by 4.8 percent at 24,243 units, marking the seventh straight month of increase, but houses for rent slumped 13.5 percent in the recording month from a year earlier at 21,759 units.

Meanwhile, condominiums and houses for sale edged up on year in May by 0.8 percent with the figure rising for a third successive month at 13,173 units, the report said.

Construction orders reversed April's 25 percent decline, rising 9.2 percent in May on an annualized basis and specifically building construction orders rocketed 33.5 percent compared to a 29.6 percent fall the previous month.

In April civil engineering work orders fell 16.8 percent, but in May plunged 26.5 percent compared to the same time a year earlier, the ministry said.



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