Japan’s housing starts decreased for the third straight month in December, defying economists’ forecast for a recovery, data from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism showed on Tuesday.
Separate official data showed that the consumer confidence index rose to a 5-month high at the end of the year.
Housing starts fell 1.7 percent year-over-year in December, following a 1.4 percent decrease in November. Meanwhile, economists had expected an annual increase of 0.5 percent.
However, seasonally adjusted annualized housing starts climbed to 846,000 in December from 842,000 in the previous month.
During the year 2022, total housing starts gained 0.4 percent, but much slower than the 5.0 percent growth in 2021.
Data also showed that construction orders received by big 50 contractors rebounded strongly by 8.5 percent year-on-year in December, after a 9.7 percent decline a month ago.
The seasonally adjusted consumer confidence index improved to 31.0 in December from 30.3 in November, data from the Cabinet Office revealed.
Among the four sub-indexes, the index reflecting overall livelihood rose to 27.8 in December, and income growth also climbed slightly to 35.6.
The index for employment increased to 37.2, while households’ willingness to buy durable consumer goods dropped to 23.5.
The latest survey was conducted on January 15, covering 8,400 households.