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Japan rental housing starts likely hit 8-year high

Boom sparked by inheritance tax hike fuels bubble worries

Vacancy rates for apartments in the greater Tokyo area have climbed sharply since the summer of 2015.

TOKYO -- Rental housing starts in Japan likely exceeded 400,000 for the first time in eight years in 2016 amid a nationwide surge in apartment construction to save on inheritance taxes.

Full-year data due out this month from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism is certain to show housing starts up for a second straight year. Much of this was driven by rental housing starts, which likely rose 10% to 420,000, making up more than 40% of the total.

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