Table of Contents
The report covers developments in the SEE construction and real estate sectors in the second half of 2012 and in early 2013.
Construction activity contracted in almost all counties in Southeast Europe in 2012 continuing a trend from 2011. Economies in the region are suffering from the global slowdown and the sovereign debt crisis in the eurozone and many of them stagnated or slightly contracted in 2012. SEE governments are trying to cut costs in order to meet targets for smaller budget deficit so funds for infrastructure projects have been reduced. Mainly projects that were co-financed with European Union's funds were started last year. The main drag on the SEE construction sector was the buildings segment as the unfavorable economic environment and tight financing have forced developers to cancel or put on hold many projects.
The outlook for the industry is a bit more optimistic that it was in mid-2012 with most economies in the region expected to post a slight growth in 2013 and fears of the eurozone debt crisis receding. The civil engineering sector is again expected to be better positioned than the buildings construction and the pace of expansion will depend on the absorption of EU funds.
Commercial property investments in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) fell by 22% in 2012 with Romania attracting the highest volume of investments of the countries under review in this report. Bulgaria followed, ahead of Croatia and Serbia. European investments in the region are expected to remain subdued in the short-term due to the lack of quality product and affordable financing.
Investments in retail property dominated the real estate market in 2012 with almost all SEE countries adding new shopping centre space. Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia, Romania and Serbia are expected to add new retail space this year as well. Activity on the office property market was mixed with growth reported in Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania, while the markets in Albania, Macedonia and Serbia stagnated.
Regarding the residential property market, home prices in 2012 increased only in Albania and Bosnia and fell in all other countries.
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