Refurbishment pushes up the surface area approved for construction in 2023

Refurbishment pushes up the surface area approved for construction in 2023

Despite the difficult economic and social situation characterised by still high inflation, rising interest rates and widespread uncertainty, which would generally have a negative impact on a sector highly influenced by inertia and dependent on investments, the authorised area for construction in Spain managed to remain stable in 2023.

According to data provided by the Architects' Associations, 32,935,044 square metres were authorised for refurbishment and new construction last year, representing a decrease of 1% compared to 2022. In this total, the refurbishment sector stood out, evidencing a change in trend that is also observed at a continental level, driven by global challenges such as climate change and European Union guidelines. The number of dwellings authorised for major refurbishment increased by 9.4%, from 34,525 in 2022 to 37,783, marking a five-year high. Since 2019, dwellings authorised for major renovations have increased by 48%.

In detail, the area authorised for residential rehabilitation grew by 9.9%, with 4,541,483 sqm authorised compared to 4,132,844 sqm in 2022 and 2,905,912 sqm in 2019, an increase of 56.3%. In the non-residential sphere, an increase of 11.8% was recorded, with 4,460,332 sqm authorised, compared to 3,990,004 sqm the previous year.

In total, the area authorised for residential and non-residential refurbishment reached 9,001,815 sqm, 10.8% more than in 2022 and 27% more than in 2019, making 2023 the best performing year for major housing refurbishment on historical records. However, considering the need for adaptation, conservation, improved accessibility and energy efficiency of the building stock in Spain, which is one of the oldest on the continent with more than 50% of dwellings in need of refurbishment, current levels are still insufficient.

In 2023, the area approval for new construction and refurbishment showed a generalised decrease in most Spanish regions, with the notable exception of significant increases in Murcia (+89.92%) and Cantabria (+83.15%), mainly attributed to non-residential projects, which does not establish a general trend. Increases were also observed in the Canary Islands (+21.67%) and in the Community of Madrid (+9%). The most marked reductions were in Ceuta (-54.66%), Castilla-La Mancha (-23.22%), Galicia (-20.39%) and the Valencian Community (-18.37%).

At the residential and non-residential refurbishment level, almost all the Autonomous Communities experienced growth, except in Ceuta (-93.26%), Aragon (-44.76%), Castile-La Mancha (-20.93%), Andalusia (-12.97%) and Castile and Leon (-12%). The most notable increases were recorded in Cantabria (+292%), the Community of Madrid (+62%), Murcia (+59.59%), La Rioja (+51.31%), the Canary Islands (+51.29%) and Navarre (+37.49%).

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