Big jump in housing starts

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The tempo of residential construction projects keeps rising in Norway, fueled by low interest rates and strong demand for new housing units. State statistics bureau SSB (Statistics Norway) confirmed the building boom in new figures released this week.

SSB said that housing starts jumped 40 percent during the first quarter of this year, compared with housing starts from January to April in 2010. Building permits were issued for 9,994 new residential units this year, compared to 7,147 in the same period last year.

All told, nearly 3.3 million square meters of new residential space was under construction, up 14 percent from the amount last year. That compares to 1.4 million square meters of commercial real estate space, down 3.1 percent from the same period last year.

The residential real estate market all over Norway remains hot, with prices still going up. Average prices for a home in the housing cooperative known as OBOS are up 9.4 percent since January 1st, with May prices 10.1 percent higher than in May 2010. The steep rise in prices has led some analysts to warn that the housing boom may go bust when prices exceed affordability levels, especially for families with small children.

Views and News staff