Local councils granted just 55,800 building permits for new homes last year, down 9% on 2010 and the lowest total since 1953, the national statistics office CBS said on Wednesday.
The number of permits actually rose 6% over the first six months of the year but fell by 19% in the second half as the housing market crisis deepened. In the peak years of 2007 and 2008, some 87,000 permits were granted.
Last year, 57,703 new homes came on the market, an increase of 3% on 2010. Both the rental and owner-occupier sectors showed growth, the CBS said.
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