May 17, 2018 / 8:45 AM / 11 days ago

UPDATE 1-Swedish housing starts fall, seen weighing on growth ahead

* Housing starts down 13 pct yr/yr in Q1

* Starts totalled 14,550 in Q1

* Slower investment seen crimping GDP later this year

* (Adds details, analyst comment)

STOCKHOLM, May 17 (Reuters) - Housing starts in Sweden fell for the first time in six years in the first quarter, data showed on Thursday, a sign that the end of a construction boom is likely to crimp growth in the coming quarters.

A shortage of housing, soaring prices and historically low interest rates have helped spur residential building in the last couple of years, boosting the economy which expanded 2.4 percent in 2017.

But the housing market has wobbled in recent months and analysts expect price falls to be reflected in lower housing investment going forward, something that will reduce overall economic growth.

“It will begin to show up in GDP figures, maybe not so much in Q1, but gradually during the year and in the beginning of 2019,” said Olle Holmgren, an economist at SEB.

“It is not a crisis, but it is something that clearly influences growth.”

The number of apartment starts fell 13 percent to 14,450 in the first quarter of the year compared to the same period in 2017, the Statistics Office (SCB) said in a statement.

Holmgren said housing starts are likely to land at around 50,000 in 2018, compared with 64,000 last year.

Sweden’s economy has outpaced rivals for years and government debt stands at its lowest levels since the late 1970’s.

The government forecasts growth of 2.8 percent this year, slowing to 2.2 percent in 2019.

Reporting by Johan Sennero and Johan Ahlander; editing by Simon Johnson and Niklas Pollard

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