Construction in Hungary leaves a weak quarter behind

Press Release on EBI Construction Activity Report Hungary Q3 2022

EBI Construction Activity-Start recorded a sharp falloff in Q3 2022. Between July and September, construction projects started at a value of less than HUF 480 billion – the lowest amount since Q3 2020.

The recent years have seen a considerable price rise in the Hungarian construction industry. In order to filter this out, the analysts of EBI Construction Activity Report compared the value of started construction works at constant prices, using Q3 2022 prices. Based on this, at constant prices, an even greater decline is seen in case of started construction works. In Q3 2022 they have registered their lowest value since 2015. At the same time, thanks to the successful first quarter, the drop was not yet visible based on the figures of the first 9 months, which even at constant prices exceeded the same periods of 2020 and 2021.

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. It is 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 Q3 2022 has been released and can be purchased at ebi@ibuild.info.

Value of building construction works down

The decline in Activity-Start witnessed in the construction industry as a whole was observed in building construction, too. The total value of started construction works was around HUF 300 billion, far below the typical first and second quarters. Looking at constant prices, the drop is even more visible. One needs to go back to Q1 2015 to find a lower value than this year’s third quarter. Yet, it is also true in case of buildings that the better first and second quarters pushed up annual figures.

The decrease was also true to residential and non-residential. For the latter, the Activity-Start of EBI Construction Activity Report was around HUF 260 billion, which, at current prices, fell short not only of the figures of the first two quarters, but also of most of the levels of quarters between 2018 and 2021. At constant prices, it was the lowest since Q1 2015.

Building construction projects launched in Q3 2022 included the W-Scope separator film factory in Nyíregyháza, and ParkSide Offices, RTL HQ, Zugló-Városközpont Offices 1 in Budapest. Work also began between July and September on Phase 2 of Campus in Kecskemét, Panattoni Park Budapest City West logistics center in Törökbálint, and the Hungarian University of Agriculture and Life Sciences in Gödöllő.

Continue reading Construction in Hungary leaves a weak quarter behind

EBI – megkezdett kivitelezési munkák – 2022. október 7-i állapot (in Hungarian)

(there is a short summary in English at the end of the post)

  • A társasházi lakásépítés Aktivitás-Kezdése már harmadik negyedéve esik, még folyó áron is.
  • A nem-lakás magasépítésen belül az ipari épületek és raktárak kivételével egyelőre mindenhol csökkenés látszik a 3. negyedévben. A részpiac fontos támaszát képező egyéb magasépítési szegmensben alig indult el valami július óta.
  • Az év elején még indultak nagy út, illetve vasút projektek, de a 3. negyedévben már a komplex ipar, energia, vízrendezés Aktivitás-Kezdése a legnagyobb mélyépítési szegmens.
  • Nagyon szépnek tűnik a mélyépítés kezdése, de ezt a Soroksár-Kelebia vasútprojekt magyarázza. A vasút szegmens nélkül a mélyépítés Aktivitás-Kezdése folyó áron stagnál.
  • Október 7-i állapot a legutóbbi, így a január-szeptember számai még változhatnak.

Elérhető és megvásárolható a friss vizualizáció melyben az október 7-i állapot mutatjuk be. Ha esetleg még nem ismeri, ebben építési projektek összesítésével készülő indikátorok vannak. Olyanok, mint pl. a megkezdett munkák összértéke vagy az építésre fordított összeg. A vizualizációban minden építési piaci szegmenst megtalál, így teljesen testre szabható.

Mostantól minden hónapban egy ilyen rövid szöveges kommentárt is posztolunk.

És még valami, ami teljesen új: mostantól változatlan áras adatokat is publikálunk, így a volumenváltozásokat is követhetik. A képen pl. a társasházi lakásépítés 3 indikátora (kezdés, teljesítmény, befejezés) látható, mindhárom változatlan áron.

Forrás: EBI Építésaktivitási Adatvizualizáció.

Az EBI Építésaktivitási Jelentés éves előfizetésének része 4 jelentés és 12 vizualizáció.

Ha bármi kérdése van, a form-on keresztül engem ér el (ez így biztonságosabb):

Köszönöm!

Bottom line: The outlook is far from rosy, in building construction the value of started works fell even at current price in Q1-Q3 2022 on comparable basis, and the the good looking growth in civil engineering is due to only one project, the Hungarian part of the Budapest-Belgrade railway line. Without railway construction, the civil submarket witnessed a similarly low level of started work to that of this time last year.

More cautious Hungarian construction industry

Press Release on EBI Construction Activity Report Hungary Q2 2022

Hungary’s high construction Activity Start in Q1 2022 was followed by a slowdown in Q2. The Q2 2022 EBI Construction Activity Report has found that between this April and June construction works started at a value of around HUF 800 billion. Although the value of projects entering construction decreased in Q2, these are not low numbers at all as Activity Start has been the 5th highest (on a quarterly basis) of recent years. It should be added, though, that recently construction costs have dramatically increased, massively pushing up the Activity Start indicator calculated at current prices, while at constant prices the volume would be lower.

Continue reading More cautious Hungarian construction industry

Q1 2022: new record in Hungarian construction

Press Release on EBI Construction Activity Report Q1 2022

The Hungarian construction industry started off this year with an exceptionally high Activity Start indicator: nearly HUF 1,300 billion worth construction works started in Q1 2022. The Activity Start of EBI Construction Activity Report in the first quarter is a new record (construction works have never started in such a high value in one quarter) and exceeded the level of Q2 2021 (the highest so far) by almost 37%. Yet, this spike is mainly thanks to the launch of two major projects: 1) the Soroksár-Kelebia section of the Budapest-Belgrade railway corridor and 2) the road section between Kecskemét and Szentkirály on M44.

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. It is 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 Q1 2022 has been released and can be purchased at ebi@ibuild.info.

Stagnant building construction

The value of started building construction projects was slightly more than HUF 430 billion in the first 3 months of 2022; a good start to the year. The Activity Start of EBI Construction Activity Report was a bit below the value of the same period of the previous year but compared to the last two quarters of 2021, there has been no major change in the Activity Start of building construction. And the first 3 months of 2022 were considerably better than the period between April and December 2020.

Within building construction, the Activity Start of residential construction was modest: the value of started construction works stayed below HUF 90 billion. The Activity Start indicator of non-residential buildings was almost HUF 350 billion in Q1 2022, lower than the very strong first 2 quarters of 2021, but almost the same as the values of Q3 and Q4 2021.

The biggest started building projects in Q1 2022 included Kovács Katalin National Kayak-Canoe Sports Academy in Sukoró, eMAG logistics centre in Dunaharaszti, and ActiCity Event Center in Veszprém. In Budapest, the construction of BEM Center office building and Kimpton Hotel (District 2), as well as Phase 2 of Corvin 7 office building (District 8) entered construction phase.

Big numbers in civil engineering

Construction start on the Budapest-Belgrade railway line between Kelebia and Soroksár, and the section of M44 between Kecskemét and Szentkirály brought an outstanding Activity Start indicator for civil engineering. The total value of launched projects went up to an unprecedented HUF 850 billion between January and March 2022; twice the previous record value of Q1 2018. The Activity Start of civil engineering in the first 3 months of 2022 exceeded the full annual value of both 2020 and 2021.

The total value of road and railway construction works within civil engineering was almost HUF 800 billion thanks to these two large-scale projects. It is indeed the highest value of the last decade. But non-road and non-railway civil engineering projects, similarly to the last two quarters of 2021, started in a low value again.

In addition to these two big-volume projects, key civil engineering projects include the Phase 2 of main road 33 (Debrecen).

Continue reading Q1 2022: new record in Hungarian construction

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

Press Release on EBI Construction Activity Report Hungary Q3 2021

After a significant expansion in Q2, the value of started construction works in the Hungarian construction industry marked a major drop between July and September. Yet overall, the Activity Start indicator remained high for Q3 due to the exceptionally good Q2.

Based on the projects listed in iBuild construction project information and company database, a total of more than HUF 2 billion worth of construction works started in the sector. The Activity Start indicator of EBI Construction Activity Report for the first 9 months of the year exceeded not only 2020, but also 2019, the former by 24% and the latter by 4%.

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), it can be purchased at ebi@ibuild.info.

Smaller-scale building construction activity in July-September 2021

Similarly to the construction industry as a whole, building construction registered a weaker Q3. The Activity Start indicator of EBI Construction Activity Report was below the level of the first two quarters, but construction works in the sector started in a higher value than in the corresponding period of 2020. Thanks to the successful H1, in the first 9 months of the year the value of the Activity Start indicator was close to HUF 1,500 billion, marking a 24% increase like-for-like and also significantly higher than in the same period of previous years.

Multi-unit and non-residential also recorded a feeble Q3. However, in the latter, the value of started construction works in January-September exceeded the one in 2020 (by 31%) and the one in 2019 (by 36%) thanks to the high Activity Start of Q2 2021.

In Q3 2021 projects entering construction phase included the renovation of the new North Buda Unified Hospitals. In addition to the construction of several office buildings and industrial warehouses which will be described in detail later, the construction of Hotel Aria Residences and of the Szekszárd Knowledge Center also started.

In the multi-unit housing segment, after the weak Q2, Q3 saw an even lower Activity Start. The value of launched construction works in the first 9 months was only 14% more than in the same period of the already poor 2020, and well below the level of previous years.

Frailing civil engineering in Q3 2021

Civil engineering also posted a reduction in Q3 2021. The Q3 2021 EBI Construction Activity Report has found that following an outstanding Q2, a rather low value of construction works started in the subsector. This was also true to road, railway, as well as non-road and non-railway segments. In the first 9 months, the Activity Start indicator of Civil Engineering exceeded the like-for-like indicator of 2020 (+15%), but it was much lower than in previous years.

The biggest launched civil engineering projects were the construction of the Sajószentpéter-Berente bypass on main road 260 and the works of the Gesztely-Szerencs stretch on main road 37.

Started construction works more evenly balanced regionally

In Q3 2021, the biggest share of construction works started in the eastern regions, but overall, in the first 9 months of the year the western regions had the largest proportion of the total value of started construction works which exceeded the value of previous years.

On the whole, East Hungary registered the fewest started construction works in January-September, in spite of the growth in Q3.

Multi-unit housing construction works slow to kick off

Despite the drop of VAT rate on new homes down to 5% from 1 January 2021 (from 27% in 2020), there is no visible growth in multi-unit housing construction. In Q2 fewer multi-unit construction projects started than in Q1 and Q3 also saw a further decline. Yet due to the better Q1, the value of Activity Start of EBI Construction Activity Report for multi-unit housing construction in the first 9 months of 2021 was still 14% higher than in the same period of 2020.

Despite the VAT reduction, multi-unit home constructions are slow to start. According to the housing permit statistics of the CSO, ‘simple declarations to build a home’ played the main role in the growing number of permits this year. This may be due to the fact that since last fall’s announcement to lower the VAT, developers haven’t had the time to prepare for large-scale projects and permits have not yet been obtained (which is the prerequisite to start construction works). But overall, as a result of the VAT reduction, we still expect the Activity Start of multi-unit housing construction to pick up in the future, especially because the recently launched ‘green loan’ might also boost demand for new homes.

Between July and September the value of completed multi-unit projects was roughly at the level of Q2, falling short of previous expectations due to delays. In the first 9 months of the year, a total of HUF 208 billion worth of multi-unit housing projects reached completion.

Like in the first half of the year, most multi-unit construction works started in Central Hungary in the first 9 months. Although the rest of Hungary had a proportionately higher Activity Start in Q3, they still lagged behind their previous years’ share. Between January and September only 10% of construction projects started in the eastern regions and 18% of them in the western regions against the 72% share of Central Hungary.

Office projects in 2021

Compared to the sharp decline in 2020, office projects have accelerated in 2021. The Activity Start of EBI Construction Activity Report for the first 9 months of the year surpassed the total annual value of the record year of 2018.

The reconstruction works of the former Joseph Archduke’s Palace, the former Red Cross Headquarters and the buildings of the Ministry of Finance and the Hungarian National Bank have started. Also, the construction works of phase 4 of Madarász Office Park, phase 1 of BakerStreet Office Building, phase 1 of Dürer Park Office Building and Richter Gedeon Headquarters have been launched.

This year there have been fewer completions. As per iBuild construction project information and company database, office construction works were completed on less than HUF 90 billion. For example, BudaPart City office building reached completion this  year and in the last quarter we might see further office building completions such as Aréna Business Campus B, Green Court Offices and OTP M12. This could greatly increase the value of this year’s Activity Completion indicator.

Warehouse projects in 2021

The construction of industrial buildings and warehouses has also been showing a strong upswing this year. The value of started works, after 2020, is hitting another record in 2021. The value of construction works started in the first 9 months of the year in the segment has already significantly exceeded last year’s total Activity Start.

This year has seen the construction start of SK Innovation battery plant in Iváncsa, Semcorp separator film production plant in Debrecen, Phase 2 of Mercedes-Benz K1 press plant in Kecskemét and East-West Gate intermodal logistics center in Fényeslitke.

Several completions have already taken place and more are expected in the last quarter, possibly making 2021 a record year for completions as well. For example, this year has seen the completion of phase 2 of SK Innovation battery factory in Komárom and the M0-M31 warehouse in Nagytarcsa. Nestlé Purina pet food plant in Bük and LIDL’s logistics center in Ecser are also set to be completed yet this year.

Press Release on EBI Construction Activity Report Hungary Q2 2021

After a relative stagnation in previous quarters, Q2 2021 saw a considerable expansion in the Activity Start indicator of EBI Construction Activity Report. It was the first three months of 2018 last that witnessed a higher value of construction works to start in a quarter. In H1 2021, projects entered construction phase on a total of HUF 1,398 billion, marking a significant increase of 20% and 18%, respectively, against the same period of the previous two years.

EBI Construction Activity Report examines the situation of the Hungarian 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. It is prepared by Buildecon, Eltinga (creation of indicators and development of algorithms for aggregation) and iBuild (project research and project database). Full publications can be purchased at ebi@ibuild.info.

Compared to Q1 2021, Q2 2021 registered a continued growth in the Activity Start indicator of EBI Construction Activity Report for building construction. Overall, HUF 558 billion worth of construction works started in this submarket: the highest quarterly value in recent years. Due to the high figures for the first and second quarters of this year, the total value of construction works started between January and June grew by 19% like-for-like. And when compared to the same period in 2019, the rise amounts to 34%.

Within building construction, the Activity Start indicator of non-residential construction grew in H1 2021, 25% up from H1 2020. The expansion is mainly due to the particularly high Q2 figures. Projects entering construction phase include the SK Innovation battery plant in Iváncsa and the renovation of the headquarters of the Ministry of Finance and the MNB (Hungarian National Bank) in Budapest. The construction of several office buildings also began in Budapest, like Phase I of Dürer Park Office Building and Phase IV of Madarász Office Park. In Dunavarsány the first construction phase of Dunapack plant (paper packaging) also started.

The multi-unit housing segment witnessed a significant decline in Activity Start Indicator between April and June compared to the first three months of the year. However, Activity Start in H1 2021 shows only a minimal decrease over H1 2020 due to the stronger first quarter.

The civil engineering Activity Start indicator of EBI Construction Activity Report registered a substantial growth in Q2 2021 against Q1 2021. It was also the highest value in recent quarters. In the first six months of 2021, projects entering construction phase accounted for HUF 423 billion. Within civil engineering, both road and rail, and non-road and rail sub-markets saw a considerable growth in Q2 against Q1. The biggest civil engineering projects comprise the Bóly-Ivándárda section of M6 motorway and the construction of the new Danube bridge and related road network in Kalocsa-Paks.

Regions

The share of the total value of construction works launched in H1 2021 was the highest in the Western regions (39%), more than 10 percentage points higher than the average share of the region in previous years.

Yet, both the regions of Eastern and Central Hungary saw a lower share of started construction works in the first 6 months of this year than in previous years with Eastern Hungary recording the lowest share (27%).

Multi-unit housing

After an exceptionally high Activity Start value in Q1 2021 over previous quarters, Q2 data showed a major decline in the multi-unit housing segment. The value for the first half of the year is thus slightly lower overall like-for-like.

As of 1 January 2021, new homes can again be sold at the reduced VAT rate of 5% (those that obtained a valid building permit until 31 December 2022 and will be sold until 31 December 2026). The higher value of construction works to start at the beginning of the year is no surprise; given the low VAT rate, developers can now start the plans previously parked due to the 27% VAT. This may have contributed to the spike in the Activity Start of EBI Construction Activity Report.

At the same time, there was little time left for investors to react to the VAT change announced last autumn, and it may take longer to plan and approve a completely new project. As a result, the actual start of construction works may be delayed, which may partly explain the weaker Q2 numbers. As the number of building permits rose in the first half of this year against last year (CSO data), the future may see an increase in the Activity-Start indicator of multi-unit housing construction as well. In addition, the ‘green loan’ effective from this autumn and the interest-free CSOK loan (Family Housing Support Program) for modern newly built homes may have a positive impact and increase demand for newly built homes.

When it comes to the Activity Completion indicator of multi-unit housing construction, it sank in Q2 2021 compared to Q1 2021. It may be related to the delay of construction projects as we can still expect many new multi-unit buildings to be completed in the following periods. In the first half of the year, projects worth a total of HUF 138 billion were completed.

Almost three-quarters of the total value of multi-unit construction projects that started in H1 2021 realized in Central Hungary, but this is mainly thanks to the high numbers in Q1. In the already weak Q2, the share of launched construction projects was slightly higher than in previous years in case of Central Hungary. The share of western and eastern regions was much lower in H1 2021 than in previous years, with the lowest share of multi-unit housing projects launched in the eastern regions.

Road and railway

Q2 2021 registered a major rise in the Activity Start indicator of EBI Construction Activity Report for the road and rail construction segments over the previous quarters. It was last in Q3 2019 when we saw a higher number than this one. Although construction works started on HUF 140 billion between April and June, data for the first half of the year are not outstanding due to the weaker first quarter, so the figures for the first six months were similar to those for the last half years, only showing a slight increase. The high Activity Start value in Q2 is attributable to the outstanding road construction numbers as rail construction works barely started.

Between April and June, far more road and rail construction works reached completion than in the first three months of the year. Within road and railway construction, the improving Q2 value can be attributed to railway construction, with projects worth HUF 74 billion completed between April and June, which is the highest number in recent years. In comparison, the value of completed road construction works amounted to only HUF 16 billion, after the already low value of HUF 9 billion in Q1.

Despite the high Q2 figures, the Activity Completion indicator in H1 2021 was lower than in H1 and H2 2020. It was last in in H1 2019 when a lower value of projects got completed than in the first 6 months of this year. In the coming quarters, however, road and railway construction projects may be completed in a significant value. And based on the expected completion date of projects, the value of Activity Completion indicator may be one of the highest in recent years.

Section A of M30 expressway between Miskolc and Tornyosnémeti already reached completion in the summer, and sections B and C are also set to be completed yet this year. It is also expected that the stretch between Szentkirály and Lakitelek of M44 expressway and the section between Körmend and Rábafüzes of M8 expressway will be completed.

In case of railway projects, Phase 2 of the Kelenföld-Pusztaszabolcs section was completed in the summer and they plan to complete the reconstruction works of the Rákos-Hatvan section of railway line 80.

Press Release on EBI Construction Activity Report Hungary Q1 2021

No improvement visible in Hungarian construction industry

The latest EBI Construction Activity Report has found that the stagnation of the total value of started construction works has not stopped. Between January and March 2021, construction works in the sector started on HUF 421bln. This, although not greatly different from the values seen in the previous three quarters, is still the lowest Activity Start indicator of the last two years. Compared to the January-March periods of the previous two years, 2021 started clearly weaker: against the positive Q1 2020, the decline was about 35%, but even over the same period in 2019, there is a 15% decrease.

Weak Q1 for building construction

The value of building construction projects in Q1 2021 showed a major decline over the same period of 2020 which brought an outstanding Activity Start, but compared to the other quarters of last year, the total value of started construction projects increased during three months.

In Q1 2021, a total of HUF 340bln worth of building construction projects entered construction phase, which was a weak three-month period compared to previous years. The previous trend also applies to non-residential buildings within building construction, where the Activity Start of EBI Construction Activity Report accounted for HUF 261bln.

Even though the drop was considerable compared to last year’s exceptionally high Activity Start in the first quarter, the value of construction works started for three months did not greatly differ from the other quarters of the year and the first three months of previous years. Among the biggest non-residential projects that began in Q1 2021, besides the construction of two office buildings, are the Water Fun Park in Győr, the second phase of Mercedes K1 press plant in Kecskemét, CTPark in Vecsés and HelloParks logistics centre in Maglód. The fortress reconstruction in Diósgyőr also started, along with Hunguest Hotel Panoráma Hévíz project and the construction of the Ice Age interactive showroom of the Zoo in Nyíregyháza.

EBI Construction Activity Report examines the situation of the Hungarian 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. It is prepared by Buildecon, Eltinga (creation of indicators and development of algorithms for aggregation) and iBuild (project research and project database). Full publications can be purchased at ebi@ibuild.info.

Plunge in road and railway construction

Civil engineering saw a dramatic plunge; in Q1 2021 the value of such projects entering construction phase contracted by almost half compared to Q1 2020. Between January and March this year, only HUF 82bln worth of civil engineering projects were launched, evoking 2015-2016 levels, and representing one of the lowest values in the last five years. The drastic drop in road and railway projects largely contributed to the particularly low level of Civil Engineering Activity Start indicator of EBI Construction Activity Report. Since 2013, Q1 2021 has registered the third lowest value of started civil engineering projects.

The first three months of 2021 barely saw the start of any major road and railway projects. The Activity Start indicator of non-road and non-railway civil engineering projects also sank to HUF 63bln, marking the second lowest amount since 2016. At the same time, Q2 2021 may bring improving numbers in civil engineering as two major projects began in April: 1) the construction of the new Danube bridge between Kalocsa and Paks and the connecting road network, and 2) the construction of the M6 motorway stretch between Bóly and the Hungarian-Croatian border. Also, the EU budget cycle 2021-2027 starting this year is set to provide fresh funds for civil engineering projects.

Regional balance

In Q1 2021, the distribution of the value of construction works among the three regions was quite balanced. While the share of Central Hungary slightly dropped compared to the period of 2014-2020, the share of Western regions rose by the same rate. The share of construction projects started in the Eastern regions remained unchanged.

New impetus in multi-unit housing construction

From January 1, 2021, VAT rate on new home sales was lowered again to 5% from the 27% in 2020, giving a new impetus to multi-unit housing construction this year. The Activity Start value of EBI Construction Activity Report in 2021 thus might be way higher than in 2020. This process has already begun and is confirmed by data for the first quarter of this year. It shows that after a steady decline in last year’s Activity Start, growth resumed in January-March 2021: multi-unit housing projects began at almost the same value as in the same period in 2020. The value of Activity Start indicator for Q1 2021 was HUF 79bln which was surpassed by only two quarters in 2019 and 2020.

Unlike Activity Start, the Activity Completion of EBI Construction Activity Report increased steadily last year. This growth came to a halt in Q1 2021, but it comes as no surprise because the value of completed projects is traditionally a bit lower in the first quarter of a year. In the rest of the year, considering the expected completion dates, the value of completed multi-unit projects may remain as high as in the previous year.

Budapest & metropolitan area dominating multi-unit housing projects

In the first three months of 2021, launched multi-unit housing projects mostly concentrated in Central Hungary. The share of this region was 79%; a major increase compared to the average of 60% in 2014-2020. In parallel, the share of both Western and Eastern regions went down. The already low 15% share of Eastern regions fell to 5% in Q1 2021. The launch of several large-scale projects such as Phases 2 and 3 of Park West, BudaBright, Phase 3 of Waterfront City, BudaPart BRF and Sasad Resort SR6 contributed to the growth in Budapest.

Traditionally, larger-scale construction projects start in Budapest than in the countryside, and thanks to the already approved but not launched projects, developers here could react to the VAT change more rapidly. The increase in the share of larger projects is shown by the fact that although the Activity Start value improved compared to previous quarters, fewer projects started during the quarter than before.

Original article in Hungarian: Tünde Tancsics (ELTINGA)

English version: Eszter Falucskai (Buildecon)

EBI Construction Activity Report Q4 2020 Hungary

Value of started construction projects on downward track in Hungary

Due to the pandemic, construction industry in Hungary last year registered a significant fall and the last quarter couldn’t save the year either. The latest EBI Construction Activity Report has found that Q4 2020, similarly to the low-value Q4 2019, saw the start of construction works at a value of HUF 442bln. Owing to the massive drop in mid-2020, 15% less construction work started than in 2019 and 30% less than in 2018. In 2020 the Activity Start Indicator of EBI Construction Activity Report accounted for less than HUF 2000bln (HUF 1990bln). And the decline affected all major subsectors.

The EBI Construction Activity Report Hungary examines the situation of the Hungarian 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 sector as well. It is prepared by Buildecon, Eltinga (creation of indicators and development of algorithms for aggregation) and iBuild (project research and project database). Full publications can be purchased at ebi@ibuild.info.

Building construction registering yet another decline in activity

Although 2020 saw quite a strong start in building construction, the momentum slowed down from Q2 on. As per the latest EBI Construction Activity Report, except for the first three months of 2020, construction works in building construction started at a lower value than in the previous period. In Q4 2020 the Activity Start of EBI Construction Activity Report amounted to only HUF 280bln. Overall, the value of building construction works started last year was HUF 1353bln, much lower than in 2019 and 2018, compared to which the difference was 10% and 17%, respectively.

The main reason for the decline is the great drop in the number of multi-unit buildings. The total value of such projects entering construction phase in Q1 2020 even exceeded the numbers of Q1 2019. Yet, the shrinkage in the following 9 months was so large that the value of projects started in 2020 fell to the level of 2015-2016 in the segment, showing a decline of almost 40% over 2019. In case of non-residential buildings, there was hardly any discrepancy in Activity Start between 2020 and 2019.

The biggest projects launched in Q4 2020 include the construction of Hotel Hévíz in Hévíz, the restoration and development of the Citadel in Budapest, and the construction of several rural industrial and factory buildings such as Nestlé Purina pet food factory in Bük or the ZalaZone military plant in Zalaegerszeg.

Q4 2020 no savior of civil engineering

2020 was a mixed year for civil engineering. In Q1 it managed to maintain the Activity Start value of the same period of the previous year, and Q4 was 70% higher than the end of 2019. In contrast, the middle of the year was well below the 2019 figures with the value of construction works started in Q2-Q3 dropping by 45% against mid-2019. Overall, the HUF 636bln Activity Start indicator for civil engineering in 2020 was almost 40% lower than the average of 2017-2019. But compared to the 2010-2016 average, this value is still 25% higher, so the period between 2017 and 2019 can still be considered outstanding.

Within civil engineering, the total value of started construction projects in road and rail segments decreased by 32% over 2019. In case of non-road and railway construction, the drop was also significant, but we could see a more modest (15%) decrease than previously presented in the Activity Start of EBI Construction Activity Report.

The highest-value civil engineering projects launched at end 2020 comprise for example, the start of construction of the Budapest Athletic Stadium and the ZalaZone automotive test track in Zalaegerszeg.

Central Hungary’s growing share

Looking at all started construction works, Central Hungary and the western regions of Hungary closed 2020 with almost the same Activity Start value as they did in 2019, with the indicator even slightly growing. But in the eastern regions, the total value of projects entering construction phase plunged (by 41%) with the decline occurring mostly in the second half of 2020. Thus, Central Hungary and the western regions increased their share in the value of started construction works, while the share of eastern regions went down to 25%, according to the latest EBI Construction Activity Report.

2021 might be a better year for the multi-unit segment

The pandemic-related economic downturn, combined with the resetting of the VAT rate to 27% as of early 2020, resulted in a remarkably low Activity Start in the multi-unit housing market last year. The last half of 2020 recorded such low numbers that can only be found in the years 2014-2015. However, the newly introduced 5% VAT rate from this year on could halt the plunge and even generate growth in the segment, which would allow the market to return to much higher Activity Start numbers this year.

When looking at Activity Completion indicators, we get a completely different picture as the total value of completed projects last year amounted to a record high of HUF 424bln. This is 40% higher than the previous peak in 2019 and it doubled compared to 2018. Preliminary data for 2021 are expected to have a similarly high value in completed projects.

The 40% countrywide decline in the Activity Start of multi-unit housing was uneven in the regions. In Budapest, the value of projects started in 2020 went down by only 9% against 2019. However, in all other regions the decrease was more than 40%, while in Pest county it was 85%. Due to these tendencies, regional shares have also changed. Because of the importance of Budapest, more than two thirds of the value of the started multi-unit construction works was concentrated in Central Hungary. The western and eastern regions remained well below their multi-year average.

Growing mood for hotel construction, stagnant Budapest

Last year also exceeded the record high value of 2019. In 2020 hotel construction works started on HUF 91bln, a 6% increase like-for-like. The last quarter of last year was outstanding with HUF 36bln of Activity Start registered, according to the latest EBI Construction Activity Report. However, this amount was distributed differently than in previous years between the capital city and rural areas. While there was a roughly 50%-50% share in 2019, in 2020 Budapest only had a 13% share and the rural Activity Start accounted for 87%. Such a low value has not been registered in the capital city since 2016. This is in sharp contrast to the 82% rural annual growth but even in this case, there are major regional differences. In 2020, the two regions pulling the segment were northern Hungary and the Lake Balaton area. For example, at the end of last year, the construction of Hotel Hévíz (Hévíz) and the Hampton by Hilton hotels (Budapest) started. Earlier last year the construction of Minaro Hotel Tokaj, Green Resort Balatonfüred and BalaLand Hotel began.

In 2020, the value of completed hotel construction works also continued to grow, with a total of HUF 48bln worth of hotel completions (a 33% increase). Regionally, the capital city had a higher share in the total value of completed projects (two-third) than in the case of started ones. This year is also expected to see a growth in completions and hotels could be completed at an even higher value.

Completed projects last year include Botaniq Castle (Tura) and Kozmo Hotel (Budapest), while works are expected to be completed in the first half of this year in Budapest for Matild Palace, InterCity Hotel and B&B Hotel. In the countryside Mária Valéria Hotel in Esztergom, Erzsébet camps in Fonyódliget and the youth sports accommodation in Felcsút can reach completion.

Soaring education-related projects

In 2020, construction works on educational buildings started at an outstanding value. Although the peak of HUF 140bln in 2018 was not achieved and fell short of the value of 2019 by a few percentages last year, it is the third most successful year with projects having started on HUF 120bln, far exceeding the average of HUF 44bln in 2000-2016. For example, 2020 saw the start of construction in EMC Measurement Lab server center in Budapest on HUF 16bln, the Semmelweis University Faculty of Medical Sciences, Department of Traditional Chinese Medicine and St. Angela Franciscan Primary School and Grammar School, and the University of Debrecen Innovation Center and Learning Center. The renovation and expansion of the Szeged Medical Sciences Training Block can start at the beginning of this year.

Education-related construction projects amounted to HUF 102bln in Hungary in 2020, and the outstanding trend of recent years can also be felt in completions. For example, the construction of the partly R&D center Univerzum Office Building in Budapest, the renovation of the campus of the Faculty of General Medicine of the University of Pécs and the reconstruction of the Ludovika Wing Building, as well as the construction of the Rózsakert Demjén István Reformed High School were also completed. In the short term, even more projects may reach completion with several of them being in Pest County. In Érd, the renovation of Batthyány Sports School and Primary School and the vocational training center of Kós Károly Vocational High School, as well as the construction of Fenyves-Parkváros Public Education Center and the construction of a primary school in Biatorbágy are planned.

Hungarian construction industry couldn’t pull itself together in Q3

In previous quarters the analysts of EBI Construction Activity Report broadly discussed the negative effects of the pandemic on the domestic construction industry. The latest figures also suggest that there is still no improvement in the sector after a weak first half of the year.

EBI Construction Activity Report Q3 2020

In the first three quarters of 2020, construction works started at a 20% lower value than in the same period of 2019, even though the beginning of the year got off to a good start in construction. The value of Activity Start indicator stood only at HUF 1,484 billion, the lowest amount in the last 4 years. Between July and September, less than HUF 390 billion worth of construction projects started, which is also a negative record because since Q4 2016 we haven’t seen such a low Activity Start in Hungary. Compared to Q2, there was an 18% slump between July and September, according to EBI Construction Activity Report.

EBI Construction Activity Report examines the situation of domestic 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 sector as well. It is prepared by Buildecon, Eltinga (creation of indicators and development of algorithms for aggregation) and iBuild (project research and project database). Full publications can be purchased at ebi@ibuild.info.

In the first 9 months of 2020, 42% of construction works started in Central Hungary and 30% in Western Hungary, so works started in both areas at a higher rate than the average of previous years. Looking at Q3 alone, Western Hungary’s share is outstanding (45%) due to the launch of several major projects such as the one for Main Road 83 (Győr-Pápa).

Although Q2 saw higher numbers in civil engineering than Q1, Q3 registered another drop in Activity Start. Thus, overall, construction projects in the subsector started in a significantly smaller value in the first 9 months of 2020 than in the same period of 2019. Against the first three quarters of 2019, the value of started construction works was 36% lower. The Activity Start indicator accounted for HUF 470 billion (out of which only HUF 145 billion between July and September). Considering the past 3 to 4 years, figures for the first three quarters are rather weak. It was only in 2015-2016 when the value of projects entering construction phase was lower. In the first 9 months, road and railway as well as non-road and non-railway civil engineering segments were characterized by the same drop as in the previous year. Among civil engineering works, for example, construction phases 1 and 2 of Main Road 83 started in Q3.

Building construction did not improve in Q3 either. Between July and August projects started at a lower value than in Q2, totalling HUF 244 billion – the lowest level since Q4 2016. According to EBI Construction Activity Report, the value of Activity Start indicator amounted to HUF 1 billion for the first 9 months of the year (a 10% shrinkage like-for-like).

The rate of decline was bigger in case of multi-unit housing construction: January and September 2020 saw a 35% lower value of started such projects like-for-like. In case of non-residential buildings, the difference was only 3%, which was mainly due to the high numbers in Q1. The Activity Start indicator in Q2 (which was low compared to the last three years) was followed by an even weaker Q3. Yet, larger projects did start in this period. For instance, among non-residential projects Q3 2020 saw the start of Phase II of the University of Physical Education in Budapest (sports hall and underground garage: Csörsz block), renovation works of Csokonai National Theatre and Latinovits Theatre (Debrecen), Phase III of BalaLand FamilyPark (Szántód) and the revamp of Allee shopping centre (Budapest).

Even compared to the previous weak quarters, Q3 2020 brought a deteriorating Activity Start for multi-unit housing construction. Projects entered construction on a value of only HUF 21 billion, a level not seen since 2014, and the low number of projects already evoked the low levels of 2013 during the crisis. No wonder that figures for the first 9 months have been a multi-year negative record since 2015, with Activity Start amounting to only HUF 154 billion.

Q3 2020 also saw a record broken for completions of multi-unit housing projects, with homes never being completed in such a high value as in July-September. The value of Activity Completion indicator was HUF 122 billion. This peak is estimated to be broken in Q4 with the value of Activity Completion being HUF 193 billion, according to EBI Construction Activity Report.

But the announcements in recent weeks that affect the housing market may bring major changes in the segment. Although resetting the VAT rate on new homes from 5% to 27% this January largely contributed to this year’s dramatic drop in Activity Start, the VAT rate is set to fall back to 5% from next January in case of constructions that start until the end of 2022. Moreover, families can even be exempted from paying the 5% VAT. The new regulations are set to kick-start projects again, so the analysts of EBI Construction Activity Report expect a considerable improvement in the Activity Start indicator.