German home approvals rose by 10.8 pct in first half of 2013
BERLIN Aug 16 (Reuters) - German authorities handed out 10.8 percent more home building permits in the first half of 2013 than in same period a year ago, data from the Federal Statistics Office showed on Friday, underlining the strength of Germany's real estate market.
Authorities in Europe's largest economy issued 110,607 approvals in the first six months of this year as low official interest rates and concern about the euro zone crisis encouraged private and institutional investors to park their cash in property rather than financial assets.
"People are continuing to flee into 'concrete gold' and that will probably continue," said Heiko Stiepelmann, chief economist at Germany's HDB construction industry group.
A robust labour market and rising wages are also giving Germans the financial means and planning security to buy their own homes.
But permits for non-residential buildings fell by 10.2 percent in the same period, with approvals for hotels and inns tumbling by 31.4 percent and approvals for factories and workshops dropping by 23.4 percent.
"The outlook for commercial construction in the coming months is not good," Stiepelmann said. (Reporting by Klaus Lauer and Michelle Martin; Editing by Stephen Brown)