Building Industry: Euroconstruct anticipates no growth – German Architects Optimistic
The international credit crunch has taken an increasing toll of the building industry, for which reason the European Building Industry’s trade association Euroconstruct has downsized its forecast for the coming months. For 2012 the association has reduced the growth forecast by –0.3 to –2.1 percent. The German building industry has likewise reduced its growth forecast from +1.8 percent to +0.4 percent. Industry activity is not set to grow again until 2014, but then by 1.7 percent. Even so, it will take several years for growth to exceed the level of 2008.
The Euroconstruct figures indicate that the only two countries whose building industry output has increased by more than two percent are Denmark and Norway, while Germany, France, Switzerland, Sweden and the UK are all below two percent. But there is good news for German architects, who are generally in a positive mood. The regular survey of independent architects undertaken by the Ifo-Institut for the first quarter of this year indicates that their business is clearly improving. The last time the mood was this good was in the mid-1990s – in the final phase of Germany’s reunification boom.
The responding architects indicated that their current level of business was now considerably better than in the previous quarters. In particular, the number of architects who described their current position as ‘good’ had increased from 26 percent in the last quarter of 2011 to 45 percent in the first quarter of 2012. The Ifo Institut says this is a uniquely high quotient. At the same time, only one fifth of respondents described their current business levels as ‘bad’ (previous quarter 23 percent).
Even so, respondents said the anticipated level of business had hardly changed from one quarter to the next. The number of architects with an optimistic view declined by three percent from 17 to 14 percent – but at the same time the number of sceptical architects declined by two percent to 13 percent.