Insight into Construction in Austria by the European Construction Sector Observatory

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Published by Simon Hardiman

Productivity in building construction in Austria fell by 3.6% between 2008 and 2010. Despite a subsequent period of growth, productivity in 2014 was still 1.6% below the level reached in 2008. Civil engineering productivity experienced a similar trend. Following a decline of 15.2% between 2008 and 2010, productivity was still 2.9% below the pre-crisis level in 2014. In spite of the challenging economic environment however, the number of enterprises in the broad construction sector increased by 17.6% between 2008 and 2013.

The gross operating surplus of the broad construction sector amounted to EUR 14.2 billion in 2013, 2.8% below the 2008 level. In contrast, the total turnover of the broad construction sector amounted to EUR 78.6 billion in 2013, a 7.7% increase compared to 2008, and employment rose by 5.3% between 2008 and 2013.

The housing market is showing the clearest signs of recovery. The growth of disposable income and improving consumer confidence are boosting the purchasing power of households and the demand for housing. The residential house price index in Austria has experienced solid growth of 30.2% between 2010 and 2015 and the number of residential property transactions in the country reached 112,124 units in 2015, up 16.6% on the previous year.

Austria has a tradition of social housing supported by housing subsidies (Wohnbauförderung) which is one of the government’s main policy instruments. The Council of Ministers introduced the Wohnbauoffensive (‘Housing Initiative’) in 2015 to deliver new housing supply. The scheme is supported by the European Investment Bank (EIB) and aims to fund the construction of 30,000 new homes by 2022, with a total budget of EUR 5.75 billion.

The Craftsmen Bonus (‘Handwerkerbonus’) was introduced in 2014 to incentivise modernisation and maintenance works in private households and, more importantly, encourages construction work to be done through the formal economy, rather than on the black market. The application-based bonus programme provides private individuals with a 20% reimbursement of the cost of construction works across a range of occupational fields.

The European Construction Sector Observatory is helping the construction value chain to confront the economic and social challenges that impact the construction industry. Through regular analysis and comparative assessments, the initiative aims to inform European policymakers and industry stakeholders on the market conditions and policy developments in the European construction sector. The key outputs of the Observatory include Country Fact Sheets that profile and analyse the construction sector in each Member State, Policy Fact Sheets on key sector-related policies in each Member State, and a series of Analytical Reports on the implementation of Construction 2020 Strategy objectives.

Visit the Observatory website to download analytical fact sheets and reports on Austria and other Member States, and gain insight into the European construction sector.

Moderated by : La rédaction C21

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