Building Construction in Turkey during the Pandemic based on H1 statistics for 3 years up to 2021

The Covid-19 pandemic that began in March 2020 has caused significant disruption in the Turkish economy and building construction. The exchange rate crisis in H2 2018 resulted in big rises of construction costs and sharp drops in building construction in 2019. In H1 2020 the economy and the construction sector were recovering from that crisis when the pandemic struck.

Written by Prof. Ali TUREL, EECFA Turkey

Karaköy, İstanbul, Turkey. Photo by Kadir Celep. Source: https://unsplash.com/

Building starts in the first six months of 2020 were about 41% up from the same six months of 2019. The government’s subsidy policy to provide mortgage loans under market exchange rates by the three state-owned banks was in effect from the beginning of June to the end of August 2020, greatly stimulating demand for housing and housing transactions. House building starts appear to have gained momentum from the subsidy policy, and building construction permits, dominated by residential buildings, grew by 45,3% in H1 2021. Nonetheless, there is a large backlog of buildings under construction in almost every use.  

The hike in the starts of residential buildings is also reflected in their growing share in total building construction permits: 63% in 2019, 76,7% in 2020 and 79,3% in 2021. The share in total starts of commercial and industrial buildings (hotels, restaurants, wholesale and retail buildings, warehousing and industrial buildings) has had a downtrend: 15,1% in 2019, 14,8% in 2020 and 12,5% in 2021, although their starts rose by 42,6% in 2020 and by 23,5% in 2021. The shrinking share of their starts is due to the bigger growth rates in residential buildings starts. Public buildings (transport buildings, schools, research buildings and hospitals) had a 21,9% share in 2019 but dropped to 8,5% in 2020 and to 8% in 2021. Their high share in 2019 might be explained by the huge decline in private sector investments in that year.

Construction forecast for Turkey is available in the latest EECFA Forecast Report Turkey up to 2023 which can be purchased on eecfa.com. EECFA (Eastern European Construction Forecasting Association) conducts research on the construction markets of 8 Eastern-European countries.

Building occupancy permits, on the other hand, had a different trend from that of construction permits. Total floor areas of completed buildings expanded by 2,8% in 2019, while construction permits dwindled by 60,1%. 2020 saw a 32,2% shrinkage in occupancy permits, followed by a 3,3% growth in 2021. And it is a known fact that builders cannot react to market signals during economic crises in a short period of time because of the heavy sunk cost of buildings under construction, particularly of those close to completion.     

Wonder why completion is above permit on the chart above? Check this visualization and choose Turkey in the <Country> dropdown

Builders of residential, commercial and publicly used buildings had almost the same reaction to the crisis caused by the pandemic: the share of these buildings did not alter much between 2019 and 2021. The only notable difference was a slight drop in the share of residential buildings from 79,5% in 2020 to 77,4% in 2021, and a 2% rise in the share of commercial and industrial buildings from 12,6% in 2020 to 14,6% in 2021.

The total floor area of residential buildings and the number of dwelling units completed in H1 2020 and H1 2021 were almost the same, while a 19% growth occurred in the total floor areas of completed commercial and industrial buildings. Housebuilders appear to be cautious in completing construction because of the shrinking demand under the conditions of high mortgage interest rates. Decreased real incomes due to big falls in the value of Turkish Lira against foreign currencies under the effects of the pandemic also contributes to the fall in demand. Mortgaged sales in housing transactions was 18,9% of total sales until the end of July, 2021. First sales have been decreasing during the pandemic from their consistently stable level of 46% to 30% in the same 7 months of 2021.

Housebuilders are also squeezed between the upsurge in building construction cost (42,48% yearly until the end June 2021) and the relatively less rise in housing prices (33% for new housing and 29,2% for all housing) within the same period. The great backlog of residential buildings under construction causes builders an additional cost of delaying completions. Thus, expectations for another subsidised mortgage scheme from the government are frequently raised in the media.

Q3 2020 Permit-completion results of EECFA countries

[status on 30.11.2020]

Most figures were published about Q3 2020, the period in between the 2 waves of the pandemic. Permit figures have started to recover in Turkey. In Serbia and Romania housing permit is still very high. Bulgaria is over the recent peak. Dive in the updated graphs about Eastern-European countries:

  1. Residential permit-completion (number of dwellings)
  2. Non-residential permit-completion (floor area and number of buildings)

And our forecast until 2022 is just days away, out on 8 December 2020.

Q4 2019 Permit-completion results of EECFA countries

Of the 8 EECFA countries, the highest growth of permitted m2 of buildings in 2019 was recorded in Ukraine. Both the multi-unit residential segment and non-residential buildings witnessed much higher permitted floor area than a year ago; almost 40% and 60%, respectively.

In the meantime, Turkey experienced a further massive drop. After permit halved in 2018, it halved again in 2019.

On the Balkans, Croatia and Serbia have the highest growth with both countries having registered an around 15% expansion driven by the residential segment.

Some countries like Bulgaria and Slovenia recorded a shrinkage, but both countries’ permitted m2 of buildings in 2019 was beyond the 2015-2019 average.

Which sub-market would you like to see?
Interactive graphs for 8 EECFA + 1 Euroconstruct countries:



Prepared by Janos Gaspar, Head of Research (EECFA, Buildecon)

Q1 2018 Permit and Completion Data

The interactive permit and completion charts for residential and non-residential buildings in the 8 Eastern European countries EECFA covers and in Hungary (covered by Buildecon in EUROCONSTRUCT) have been updated with the latest data.

Residential permit-completion (number of dwellings)

Non-residential permit-completion (floor area and number of buildings)

Updated Permit and Completion Data – 2017

As Q4 2017 permit and completion data are being published, we’ve been updating our interactive permit & completion charts for residential and non-residential buildings in the 8 Eastern European countries EECFA covers
and in Hungary (covered by Buildecon in EUROCONSTRUCT)

Interactive charts for the 2 sub-markets:

1. Residential permit&completion (number of dwellings)

2. Non-residential permit&completion (floor area and number of buildings)

And this summary table shows the latest data of permitted buildings (residential and non-residential floor area together).

These data have been compiled by Janos Gaspar, Head of Research (EECFA, Buildecon)

Development of Permit and Completion – H1 2017

Our permit-completion graphs about residential dwellings and non-residential buildings have been updated with the latest figures.

Here you can follow the developments on interactive charts for all the 8 Eastern European countries we are dealing with in EECFA + Hungary Buildecon is reporting about for EUROCONSTRUCT.

Residential permit-completion (number of dwellings)

Non-residential permit-completion (floor area and number of buildings)

Data compiled by: Janos Gaspar (EECFA Research, Buildecon)

2016 Permit-Completion results of EECFA countries

See this summary table on how construction permit ended up in 2016 in the

  • 8 EECFA Countries where we have members
  • and in Hungary (as Buildecon is the Hungarian member to EUROCONSTRUCT)

T12+

and here you can follow the development of both permit and completion on interactive charts:

  1. Residential permit-completion (number of dwellings)
  2. Non-residential permit-completion (floor area and number of buildings)

On the residential graphs, the number of dwellings is displayed, and you can choose the countries and the data type. Besides these options, on non-residential graphs you can also choose the indicator type (floor area or number of buildings)