Building permits

Permitted dwellings

In the first quarter of 2021, despite the corona pandemic-related lockdown, most building permits were issued to date; in terms of annual results those of 2020 are in third place after the peak values of 2017, immediately followed by 2019

Around 19 300 apartments were approved for construction in the first quarter of 2021. It does not include the units created in Vienna by adding, building or converting existing buildings. This was the highest result of all reference quarters since 2005. It was around 21% or 3 400 units above that of the previous year. Compared to the previous peak values from 2019 followed by 2017, there are now expansions of three and five percent (around 600 and 900 absolute). Compared to the corresponding figures back to 2011 there were consistently increases between nine percent or 1 600 apartments (compared to the beginning of 2018) and 67% or 7 700 permits (compared to the reference quarter of 2012).

The building permits for the entire year 2020 - around 77 500 apartments without additions, construction or renovation activities in Vienna - came in third place after 2017 and only closely followed by 2019: Compared to the average of the almost equally high number of permits in 2017 and 2019 the minus was average around seven percent each or 5 700 in absolute terms. In relation to the annual values from 2016 back to 2011 there were currently consistently increases that varied between four percent or 2 700 approved apartments (compared to 2016) and 44% or 23 500 entities (compared to 2012).

This result or the development over time is characterized by the large-volume residential construction. While the corresponding share of the respective total residential construction output was still around half on average in the years 2011 to 2015, it rose to 58% in the periods 2016 to 2020. From a regional point of view the federal capital is gaining in importance because in contrast to the other federal states, construction activity here is largely concentrated on multi-storey residential construction. In the period from 2011 to 2015 mentioned above, 27% of all apartments in larger residential buildings in the federal capital were approved. In the period from 2016 to 2020 this increased to 39%.  
The share of units in new single and two-family houses in Austria was a little more than a quarter in 2020. Only 1% of the entities were in new, mostly non-private residential buildings. Apart from Vienna, the apartments approved in existing buildings through additions, construction or renovation activities accounted for around 19% of all permits.

Building permits for new buildings

Despite restrictions due to Corona, both the new buildings approved in the 1st quarter and throughout 2020 achieved their highest result to date

Around 8 300 new buildings were approved for construction in the first quarter of 2021. This corresponded to the highest result since 2012. Compared to the same period of the previous year, the increase was more than 28% or 1 800 entities. With the exception of the 2019 reporting year (with a quarter or around 1 700 buildings) the assessment of the development since 2011 showed consistently increases, which were mostly significantly higher and, with almost 74% or around 3 500 buildings, reached the highest level compared to 2012.

The approximately 29 100 new buildings initiated throughout 2020 showed a similar picture over time: The current number here was more than 3% (or 950 properties) above the previous year's period; when looking at the other expansions, the one here turned out to be the largest compared to 2012 (almost 24% or around 5 600 absolute).

Since the multi-storey residential building with many units per property (mainly in the federal capital) dominated the course of the apartments, the development (and distribution) of new buildings differs from that of the apartments with building approval. 74% of all new buildings approved in 2020 were residential buildings, approximately 87% of which were single and two-family houses. With the exception of Vienna, this proportion was usually significantly higher in all federal states. The highest values were found in Burgenland and Lower Austria with around 94% each and in Upper Austria and Carinthia with around 91% each. As expected, the corresponding value was lowest in the federal capital (just under 60%).

Please consult our German website for further information. Detailed results dating back to the 1st quarter of 2005 are available there.

Some of these figures are estimated and preliminary.