Sagging Demand for Construction in Western Europe, Accelerated Growth Expected in Central and Eastern Europe until 2003
In Western Europe, the construction industry recorded a brisk growth of 2.8 percent in 2000. According to the most recent Euroconstruct forecasts, that growth rate will be reduced to 1.4 percent in this year and to 1.7 percent over the next two years. This modest outlook has its roots in the faltering demand for new housing, in view of adequate capacities available and a decline of the number of people in need of housing. Demand is shifting from new residential construction to renovation. Investment in civil engineering will be more dynamic in the years to come, as a consequence of more investments in the transport infrastructure in Europe. Private partnership for infrastructure improvement are gaining ground in Europe. In 2001, the best prospects in the construction industry are found for Sweden and Ireland, with growth rates in excess of 6 percent, followed by Portugal, Spain and Italy (+4 or +3 percent), the Netherlands and the U.K. (+2.5 percent). Growth rates for the other countries (including Austria) are around 1 percent. A decline is envisaged for Germany (–0.5 percent), Denmark (–3.5 percent) and Norway (–5.5 percent). Altogether, the construction sector in Western Europe differs markedly from the generally positive economic development. In contrast to Western Europe, construction in the CEECs is once again growing dynamically. The crisis in the Czech and Slovak Republics appears to have been overcome. Real construction production in the CEECs rose by 2.9 percent in 2000. For 2001, growth is expected to be 5.3 percent, and 6.5 to 7.5 percent for 2002-03. Growth should be highest in Hungary and Slovakia (+10 to +12 percent), whereas the Czech construction industry is still recovering from the setbacks of the past years. For Austria, the outlook is distinctly below the European growth rate (+2 percent for 2000, +1 percent for 2001, +1.5 percent in 2002-03). New housing output is further declining, as a consequence of saturated demand and an adequate stock of new construction. Urgently required infrastructure projects are launched with considerable delay. Office construction, on the other hand, is booming and should continue to do so for the next two or three years. Generally, Austria shows a clear shift from new housing to more renovation and modernisation both for housing and civil engineering projects.
Baunachfrage in Westeuropa gedämpft, Belebung in Ost-Mitteleuropa; Sagging Demand for Construction in Western Europe, Accelerated Growth Expected in Central and Eastern Europe until 2003
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