ECONOMY

Construction sector keeps shrinking

There is no sign of an end to the slump in Greek construction activity, as January 2013 figures released on Wednesday by the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) showed a 36.3 percent yearly drop in the number of building permits issued, which fell to 1,418.

This figure corresponds to 260,200 square meters of surface area and 1,044,700 cubic meters in volume – i.e. an annual decline of 35.3 percent in surface area and 32.6 percent in volume.

Local cement plants have released data that point to demand dropping to levels not seen since the 1960s, while the stock of unsold houses is above 250,000 across the country and virtually all construction activity has stopped.

ELSTAT figures show that the number of new houses built in 2012 did not exceed 20,000 as by end-November they only numbered 16,724. By comparison, in 2010 the number of new houses came to 52,325, while in 2007 the figure stood at 103,865.