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The number of building permits issued rose 1.2% in May, after a nosedive of 36.5% in April, while the increase in May surface and volume was more pronounced at 10.2%, according to the statistics authority ELSTAT.
This is the first positive reading since November 2013, when building permits soared 36.2%.
Following the positive performance in May, the 5month figure of building permits showed a drop of 22.6%, slower than the 27.8% posted in the 4-month period. The decline in 5-month surface and volume was smaller, at -16.9 and -10.7%, respectively.
The 12-month trailing contraction displayed a broadly similar pattern with that of the 5-month with building permits, surface and volume retreating by 16.9, 14 and 10.8%, respectively.
The geographical breakdown of May building permits showed West Macedonia and the Ionian Islands posted the highest rise at 51.4 and 52.4%, respectively. By contrast, Thessalia and the Attica region (greater Athens) recorded the highest drop in May, at 17.3 and 10.4%, respectively.
Building activity is among the sectors mostly hit by the crisis. The number of building permits plunged to 16,400 in 2013 from 65,500 in 2008, a cumulative drop of 75% that is three times higher than the GDP contraction over the same period.
Housing loans, which are indirectly related to building activity, stood at EUR 70.6 bln at the end of June showing a cumulative decline of 13.2% from the peak recorded in August 2010.
In addition, non-performing housing loans reached EUR 25 bln in Q1 2014 indicating a heightened threat for the sector as well as the domestic economy and society.
Apartment prices dropped 7.3% in Q2 2014, while the cumulative nosedive stands at 36.3% from the peak posted in Q3 2008. The continued negative movement for the 22nd consecutive quarter reflects the ongoing recession, lack of credit demand and increased tax burden on real estate property.
The Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research’s (IOBE) indicator of confidence in the construction business eased by 0.1 points to 84.1 points in July. The monthly movement reflects a drop in private construction by 9 points and a 2.2 points increase in the public works’ construction confidence.