August 17, 2012 / 5:21 PM / 8 years ago

German home approvals up 4.9 percent in first half of 2012

BERLIN, Aug 17 (Reuters) - German authorities gave out 4.9 percent more house building permits in the first half of 2012 than in the same period a year ago, a sign that the construction industry in Europe’s largest economy may be riding out the euro zone debt crisis.

German authorities issued 114,000 permits in the first six months of this year, more than in any period since the first half of 2006, data from the Federal Statistics Office showed on Friday.

House building in Germany is benefiting from ultra-low official interest rates as well as concerns about inflation and the euro zone crisis, which are encouraging Germans to put their money into property rather than financial assets.

The country’s strong recovery from the global financial crisis and a solid labour market are also helping increase demand for property.

But the number of permits did not rise as sharply as in 2011, when 27.9 percent more approvals were granted in the first compared and 16.6 percent more in the second half compared with the respective year-earlier periods.

“The positive development in house building approvals continued but weakened compared to the previous year,” the Federal Statistics Office said in a statement.

Other data released this month has indicated that the debt crisis engulfing much of Europe is taking its toll on Germany, with German growth slowing in the second quarter and imports, exports, industrial orders and output all dropping. (Reporting by Michelle Martin; editing by Patrick Graham)

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