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OSLO, Feb 14 (Reuters) - The sale of new Norwegian homes rose by 12 percent year-on-year in January, while housing starts increased by 42 percent, the Norwegian Home Builders' Association (NHBA) said on Tuesday.
Rising demand has propelled the price of existing homes to record highs and has spurred a boom in construction, with a recent forecast predicting housing starts will hit a four-decades high in 2017.
"Barring unforeseen circumstances, the extremely strong sales will translate into very positive housing starts," Chief Executive Per Jaeger of the NHBA told a news conference.
Despite the boom, the capital region is still unable to meet the demand for housing, Jaeger said.
"There's an upwards trend on housing starts, but Oslo has a need for even stronger growth. That's our challenge," he added.
In December, homes sales rose by 26 percent from the same month of 2015, while housing starts rose 1 percent.
Overall, the sale of new homes rose by 15 percent last year and housing starts were up 4 percent.
Norway's top home builders include Selvaag Bolig, Veidekke, AF Gruppen and cooperative building association OBOS. (Reporting by Camilla Knudsen, writing by Terje Solsvik, editing by Gwladys Fouche)