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Residential construction activity
By Economic Research Division - May / June 2002 No 32  Property A.E.
Aug 18, 2003

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Residential construction activity, as measured by the volume of private building permits, registered a growth in 2001 of 12% yoy, compared with a 5.7% in 2000. Mortgages increased yoy by 38.9% in December 2001, and by 39.4% in February 2002, reflecting the substantial fall of interest rates and aggressive pricing policies followed by banks. Cement production was 1.3% higher in January-February 2002 from the corresponding period of 2001, after increasing by 4.6% in 2001, compared with 4.5% in 2000, with overall prospects in the construction sector remaining robust. Moreover, index of business expectations in construction fell to 129 in March, compared with 142.3 in January 2002 (the highest level since September 2000), indicating a likely deceleration from the fast pace of the recent past. Manufacturing production rose by 1.5% in 2001, compared with 6.1% in 2000. In Q1 2002 production fell by 0.8% you, compared with an increase of 3.6% in Q1 2001. Adverse weather conditions have depressed production in various sectors in January, but a recovery is expected in the following months. In fact, the PMI index for Greece published by Reuters reached 54.2 in April, compared with 52.3 in February, 51.0 in January and 50.9 in December, pointing to a healthy growth of production in the manufacturing sector in 2002. The manufacturing business confidence index reached 105.6 in March, from 105.6 in February and after a temporary fall to 98.2 in December from 107 in September. Lastly, in the tourist sector, foreign tourist receipts in 2001 grew by 1.9% yoy, reaching € 10.25 billion compared with € 8.3 billion in the same period of 2000. In Q1 2002 tourist receipts fell by 15.6%, on top of a 24.3% increase in Q1 2001. While September 11 events have had some unfavorable effect on Greek tourism in the last four months of 2001 and in Q1 2002, tourist activity in 2002 is expected by the government and by tourist organizations to reach the same level as in 2001.

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