2021 saw an expanding value of started construction works in Hungary

Press Release on EBI Construction Activity Report Q4 2021

2021 as a whole saw expansion in the Hungarian construction industry. Compared to 2020 and 2019, the total value of started construction works also rose. Last year, the Activity Start indicator of EBI Construction Activity Report reached a total of more than HUF 2,500 billion, an increase of almost 18% against 2020 and of more than 6% against 2019. It is true, however, that last year’s growth was mainly due to the outstanding numbers in Q2 as Q4 brought a particularly low Activity Start. It was in 2016 last when there were 3 months with lower value of construction works started.

Photo by Hajnalka Hurta

EBI Construction Activity Report Hungary analyses the construction industry on a quarterly basis, including the volume of newly started construction works and the value of projects completed in each quarter in aggregate and by segment as well. Prepared by Buildecon, Eltinga (creation of indicators and development of algorithms for aggregation) and iBuild (project research and project database). The EBI Construction Activity Report Q4 2021 has been released and can be purchased at ebi@ibuild.info.

Building construction: drop at end 2021, but still a record-setter

Q4 2021 registered a weaker Activity Start in building construction works, mainly owing to the loss of momentum in non-residential building works. Overall, however, the lower numbers of H2 were offset by the higher values of H1, particularly in Q2. Thus, thanks to a successful first half of the year, building construction works have never started at such a high value as in 2021. As per the latest EBI Construction Activity Report, the value of construction works started last year reached more than HUF 1,800 billion with the growth over 2020 being close to 30%, and the growth over 2019 being more than 20%.

The Activity Start of multi-unit housing constructions saw an increase in Q3 and Q4 2021. In the full year of 2021, despite a weak Q4, the value of non-residential construction works set a record; such a high value of construction works has not yet started in the subsector. The Activity Start indicator of EBI Construction Activity Report amounted to more than HUF 1,500 billion in total, an increase of about 27% over both 2020 and 2019.

In Q4 2021, the biggest building construction projects entering construction phase comprised Alba Arena sports hall (Székesfehérvár), Chervon Auto automotive metal parts plant (Miskolc), Jedlik Ányos Grammar School (District 21, Budapest) and the Innovative Technical School and Grammar School (Biatorbágy).

Civil engineering: not the top performer of 2021

Since 2016 civil engineering works had not commenced at such a low value as they did in 2021. The Activity Start of EBI Construction Activity Report was slightly more than HUF 700 billion, meaning a further decline of 5% over the weak year of 2020, and a falloff of more than 18% over 2019. The Activity Start of road and railway construction works showed a 6% rise compared to 2020 due to the low base; but compared to 2019 the drop was close to 15%. In other than road and railway civil engineering works, the decline was almost 14% in 2021 against 2020, while the value of started construction works fell by 22% against 2019.

Among the biggest civil engineering projects that began in Q4 2021 were the railway section between Szeged-Transfer Station and Röszke, the Halimba-Szőc Solar Park, and the construction of the irrigation plant and irrigation system in Mezőhegyes.

Dropping share of Central Hungary

Q4 2021 saw a further drop in the share of Central Hungary in terms of started construction works. For the whole year, 34% of the value of construction works started in the region; lower than in 2014-2020 (38%).

The share of Eastern Hungary in Activity Start also lagged behind that of previous years, while that of Western Hungary went up to 35% from the previous 28%, according to the latest EBI Construction Activity Report.

Last year, after Budapest, the highest value of construction works started in Central Transdanubia.

Multi-unit housing construction getting off

Thanks to the favourable VAT rate, there was an increase in the value of started multi-unit construction works in 2021. A bit more than HUF 300 billion worth of construction works commenced in the segment, an increase of more than 40% over 2020 in the Activity Start of EBI Construction Activity Report. But the numbers were almost 4% lower than in 2019. Compared to 2018 and 2017, the difference was even more striking: more than 30%. The growth that started in Q3 and Q4 2021 is set to continue in 2022 with developers earlier this year announcing the launch of several major projects, as well as higher building permit numbers last year.

The biggest projects launched in Q4 2021 included several multi-unit housing projects in Budapest such as Phase I of New Palace, Ferdinand Garden, Balance Garden, Metrodom River building B and Westside Garden.

Even though the total value of projects completed in 2021 did not reach the 2020 level, it remained high. HUF 300 billion worth of multi-unit homes were completed in 2021, which, after 2020, was the second highest Activity Completion registered ever. According to preliminary data, 2022 is expected to set a record for completion again if projects planned for this year do reach completion.

Various parts of Hungary did not have the same share last year in the increase of multi-unit housing construction. A Bigger Activity Start was registered in Budapest, which dropped least in 2020, as well as Pest County and the Southern Great Plain region (starting from a low base due to the large drop). Overall, Central Hungary had a much higher share of the value of started multi-unit home construction works in 2021, more than 70%, compared to the average of 60% in previous years. The share of Eastern and Western Hungary in 2021 lagged behind their share in the period between 2014 and 2020.

Northern Great Plain

Compared to pre-2017, construction works in the Northern Great Plain region in recent years have been starting at a much higher value. 2017 and 2018 saw an exceptionally high construction Activity Start, but it also stayed high in 2019 and 2020. Although in 2021 started construction works had a lower value than in 2020, the Activity Start indicator still surpassed the 2019 level, and was much higher than pre-2017.

Even though the Activity Start of multi-unit housing construction somewhat grew in the region in 2021 over 2020, it still lags far behind the figures of 2016-2019; for instance, by more than 30% over 2019. Between 2016 and 2019, works began on larger projects in the region such as Phases 2 and 4 of Paris Courtyard (Párizsi udvar) or Ispotály residential park (both in Debrecen) and János-hegy residential park (in Nyíregyháza). Despite the low numbers in 2021, larger multi-unit residential projects were also launched in the region like the Debrecen project (in Hajdúböszörmény) or Phase 1 of Platanus residential park (in Debrecen).

Based on data available for the first 9 months of 2021, 2022 might see a further major expansion in the Activity Start of the region. The number of permitted homes hiked between January and September last year and 90% more permits were issued in the region than in the same period of 2020. For comparison, the country-wide growth was only 30% between the two periods.

The value of non-residential construction works launched in the Northern Great Plain region increased greatly by 2021, and even exceeded the highest value of 2018. Thus, overall, the Activity Start of building construction reached a record high in the region in 2021. For example, construction started on the East-West Gate intermodal logistics centre (Fényeslitke), on Phase 3 of Lego injection moulding plant and on Phase 3 of the packaging plant and warehouse (both in Nyíregyháza). Last year also saw the start of construction works on Semcorp foil production plant (Debrecen) and on Tiszakavics Hotel (Szolnok). The growth is striking despite that the construction of the BMW plant did not eventually start last year. And Activity Strat is expected to remain high this year as rumour has it that the first building works at the BMW plant (central office building and training centre) could begin in 2022.

In recent years works on road M4 and projects related to the BMW project fuelled the Activity Start of civil engineering in the region (for the latter, for example, Phases I and II of the North-West Economic Zone infrastructure development and Phase 1 of the Debrecen-Füzesabony railway section started). But last year the value of started civil engineering works sank massively in the Northern Great Plain and it had not been so low since 2015. Biggest projects in 2021 included the civil engineering works of the above-mentioned East-West Gate intermodal logistics centre and the City Stadium project in Nyíregyháza.

Original article in Hungarian: Tünde Tancsics, ELTINGA

English version: Eszter Falucskai, BUILDECON

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