By Stelios Orphanides
The building permits issued by municipal authorities last year rose an annual 19 per cent in terms of construction area to 1,047,085 square metres and 8 per cent in terms of value to below €1.2bn as demand for more spacious homes picks up, the statistical service said.
The increase in construction area was on a 23 per cent annual rise in permits issued for housing projects to 834,128 square metres, Cystat said in a statement on its website on Thursday. The value of housing projects rose 29 per cent to €856.7m. Building permits are an important leading economic indicator.
The building permits for non-housing projects rose 6.7 per cent last year in terms of construction area to 206,261 square metres and dropped 3.7 per cent in value to €238.8m, Cystat said. The licensed non-housing projects include 19 new hotels, 35 tourist apartments, 208 cafes, restaurants and pubs, 84 office buildings and 119 industrial and warehouse facilities.
As domestic demand for housing remains subdued following the banking crisis, the government schemes, aiming at attracting foreign real estate buyers that include the issue of a passport or a permanent residence permit, appear to have further strengthened demand for larger residences.
The number of housing units for which local authorities issued building permits rose last year 14 per cent to 3,649, Cystat said. The number of independent houses rose 24 per cent to 2,022, while the number of units in semi-detached houses fell 26 per cent to 444. The number of flats in residential blocks and mixed blocks rose 29 per cent and 147 per cent to 716 and 267 respectively.
The average construction area and value of licensed housing units rose 7.7 per cent to 228.6 square metres and 13 per cent to €234,762 last year, Cystat said. While the average area of independent single homes dropped 7.7 per cent to 258 square metres, their value rose 6.1 per cent to €252,311. In the case of homes in semi-detached houses, the average area rose 22 per cent to 157.9 square metres as their value rose 11 per cent to €152,652.
Flats in residential blocks saw their area increase 6.7 per cent to 149.8 square metres and their value rise 13 per cent to €143,256, apartments in residential and commercial blocks increased 60 per cent in area to 368.6 square metres while their value more than doubled to €528,607, Cystat said.