February 1, 2018 / 1:34 PM / 21 days ago

Norway's DNB takes more positive view of housing market

OSLO, Feb 1 (Reuters) - Norway’s biggest bank DNB has become more optimistic about the country’s housing market as demand for homes is picking up after last year’s slowdown, but says it’s too early to conclude that a recovery is firmly on the way.

“We have a more positive view on the housing market now than we had in the previous quarter,” DNB Chief Executive Rune Bjerke told Reuters on Thursday.

Norway’s housing prices hit record-highs in the spring of 2017, but have since fallen as tighter mortgage regulations, lower population growth and a boom in construction weakened demand at a time of rising supply.

Worries over the housing market have also weighed on Norway’s economic outlook, with some economists and the OECD warning of a potential hard landing even as the central bank predicted a soft one.

“It’s too early to say that prices have bottomed out,” Bjerke said, but added that signs of increased demand for homes and mortgages could mean that prices will rise earlier than the 2019 forecast made by DNB’s own team of economists.

“When you look at new building projects, there is a much better turnout now (from potential buyers) than in the autumn,” he said.

DNB reported fourth quarter net earnings above forecasts earlier on Thursday. (Reporting by Camilla Knudsen, editing by Terje Solsvik)

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