Jordan construction activity to slip
Total size of new buildings licensed by authorities declined during January and February compared to the same period in 2011, although licences for housing projects increased by 9.9 percent, official figures showed on Sunday.
Amid expectations of a slowdown in the construction sector, the Department of Statistics (DoS) indicated yesterday that the total size of new licensed buildings reached 1,808,000 square metres during the first two months in 2012, declining from 1,932,000 square metres in the same period in 2011. According to housing sector experts, this 6.4 percent decline will reflect on the construction sector in the next months.
Hamza Mohammed, a local contractor, described the figure as an indication of the slowdown in construction businesses, which would reflect on various other sectors. He expected the drop in business activities to remain the same for the next few months, unless new projects and tenders are floated by authorities.
The DoS said in a statement issued yesterday that the total number of new building licences issued during January and February this year did not exceed 4,470 but the figure was more than 4,900 in the same period of last year.
DoS figures showed that the total area of new buildings for housing purposes was around 1,555,000 square metres during January and February of 2012, compared to more than 1,400,000 square metres in the same period in 2011, registering an increase slightly less than 10 percent.
The figures cover only housing projects across the Kingdom's regions, construction projects under the public sector domain need to be determined in order to have a comprehensive view on the trend of the sector in general.
Murad Khatib, a local construction contractor, said the buildings for housing purposes represent a vital part of the construction businesses in a country like Jordan, adding: "It is true to say that the business would go through a decline in the next few months."
The Jordan Construction Contractors Association launched a plan last year to export construction services abroad, in an attempt to curb the decline in members’ businesses inside the Kingdom. However, such attempts are still facing major challenges including the unstable regional situation in certain countries including Iraq, Libya, Egypt and Syria, according to several Jordanian contractors who sought mobilisation to these countries.