Japan Real Time Charts and Data

Edward Hugh is only able to update this blog from time to time, but he does run a lively Twitter account with plenty of Japan related comment. He also maintains a collection of constantly updated Japan data charts with short updates on a Storify dedicated page Is Japan Once More Back in Deflation?

Friday, November 30, 2007

Japan Building Construction Starts November 2007

Japan's housing starts fell for a fourth month in October as stricter rules for obtaining building permits and the impact of the US sub-prime credit tightening continue to place a burden on economic growth. Starts tumbled 35 percent in November from a year earlier after falling 44 percent in September, the Ministry of Land Infrastructure and Transport said in Tokyo today.

The government eased regulations earlier this month in an attempt to prevent the slump from derailing growth after housing investment became the main drag on the economy in the third quarter. Loan relief to small companies hurt by the new rules will also be provided, the government said, after bankruptcies in the construction sector swelled by a fifth last month.


On an annualized basis, housing starts rose to 850,788 units from September's four-decade low, the report showed. It was the first increase in four months.

Japan altered the building code on June 20 after an architect fabricated earthquake-resistance data in 2005. Builders complained that the new system was introduced too fast, they didn't have time to adapt to the requirements and it was difficult to get approvals for any changes to plans.

Government officials and some economists are saying that the worst may now be over for the industry. The building-approval rate doubled to 50 percent in October from a month earlier, Land Minister Tetsuzo Fuyushiba said this week, and the approval rate for submissions through Nov. 23 rose to 71 percent, the ministry have said.

Still, all this needs monitoring carefully, since the decline in housing investment has already shaved a significant amount from Japan's 2.6 percent annual expansion rate achieved in Q3.