Building permits

Permitted dwellings

Building permits in the 2nd quarter of 2020 fell by 9%, in the entire first half of 2020 by almost 17% compared to the same period last year

Around 17 300 apartments were approved for construction in the second quarter of 2020. Not included are the units to be built in Vienna by means of acquisition, construction or conversion of existing buildings. Not least because of the lost work due to the corona pandemic, the reporting result was around 9% (in absolute terms almost 1 800) lower than in the previous year.

A look at the entire course of the year so far showed a clearer picture: with the around 31 000 apartments approved in the first half of 2020 (excluding additions, construction and renovation activities in Vienna) the level of 2015 was reached (by around minus 1% or 300 absolute) - and thus actually the period at the beginning of the building boom that has taken place in recent years. The decrease in the current value compared to the reference times 2019 and 2018 was roughly 16% or 6 000 units each. In relation to the previous peak value in 2017 the recent result was approx. 22% (8 900 apartments) lower. Compared to 2016 the current minus was 19% or around 7 300 apartments. A comparison with the remaining results back to 2011 showed consistently higher values: Compared to the first half of 2014 and 2013 an average of roughly 4% or 1 000 absolute values. Compared to the reference figure from 2012 the increase was almost a fifth (around 5 100), in relation to 2011 it was around 16% (or 4 200 apartments).  
The entire development is clearly characterized by multi-storey residential construction: the previously mentioned declines resulted in bookings of around a quarter or around 4 900 apartments compared to the two reference periods 2019 and 2018. Compared to 2017 the decrease was almost 35% or 8 000 units, compared to 2016 it was just under 32% or 7 000 permits. With the current result, the approval level of 2015 was also achieved for the larger residential buildings (by around minus 1% or almost 200). In addition, larger residential buildings consistently showed higher numbers compared to the other historical half-year figures: Measured in the first half of 2014 and also in 2013 by an average of plus 5% or almost 800 apartments, in relation to 2012 by 35% or 3 900 units, compared to the reference period 2011 by a third or almost 3 700 permits.  
From a regional perspective, the federal capital is gaining in importance because, unlike in the other federal states, construction activity here is predominantly concentrated on multi-storey residential construction. The share of these Viennese buildings in Austria's total residential construction output averaged a tenth in the first half of 2011 to 2014, then doubled to a fifth in the reference periods 2015 to 2019 and was only slightly below this value in the current period despite the downward trend (more than 19%). This statement is gaining in importance insofar as there is currently still significant under-reporting for the federal capital (extension, construction, renovation activity).

In 2019 as a whole, the historically second highest approval result was achieved after the peak of 2017

With only two exceptions (2012 and 2018), residential building permit activity has consistently shown annual increases since 2010, ranging between 4% or 2 800 units (increase in 2014 to 2015) and 14% or 7 300 entities (increase in 2010 to 2011) scattered. In 2012, around 9% or 5 400 fewer permits were reported than in the previous year. In 2018, too, there was a decline compared to the previous year (14% or approximately 11 400), whereby in 2017 with around 81 300 apartments approved for construction, the current high of the entire time series - even back to the 1970s - represents. The current year 2019 ranks second with over 77 800 building permits, which on the one hand corresponded to an 4% decrease (about 3 400 units) compared to the maximum value, but on the other hand reversed the decline in 2018 (by plus) 11% or 8 000 absolute).

Multi-storey residential building dominant (federal capital)

The development of large-volume residential construction is very clear: If the corresponding value still represented 41% of the total residential construction work in 2010, it was already 61% in 2017. A year later it fell back to 54%, to rise again to 58% in the most recent reporting period. The permits of the federal capital thus became more important, since the contribution to multi-storey residential construction is very clear here: The share of multi-storey residential permits in Austria's total residential construction work, which averaged around 15% from 2010 to 2016 in Vienna, rose to 26% in 2017, fell to a fifth the year after, and now reached about 24% in 2019.

Permitted new buildings

The number of new buildings approved in the 2nd quarter and in the entire first half of 2020 was in each case 5% below the same period of the previous year

7 400 new buildings were approved for construction in the second quarter of 2020. Due to the corona, a result that was 5% or around 400 absolute lower than in the same period last year was achieved.  
Almost 74% of the properties approved for building in the 2nd quarter of 2020 were residential buildings, 89% of which were single and two-family houses. Since the multi-storey residential building with many units per property (mainly in the federal capital) dominates, the development (and distribution) of new buildings over time differs fundamentally from that of the approved apartments.

The around 13 600 new buildings initiated in the entire first half of 2020 also achieved a similar distribution over time as in the 2nd quarter: Here, too, the current number was around 5% (i.e. around 800 properties) below the previous year's period. Compared to 2018 a minus of approx. 3% (less than 500 absolute) could be quantified; compared to the other reference periods there were consistently increases that were between less than 2% or 200 entities (compared to 2017 and 2016) and 18% (compared to the first half of 2012; that was around 2 100 buildings).  
Less than three quarters of all new properties approved in the first half of 2020 were residential buildings, 89% of which were single and two-family houses. As in the previous section it should also be pointed out here that the course of the multi-storey residential building mentioned for the apartments differs fundamentally from that of the buildings because of the many units per property (mainly in Vienna).

The new buildings approved throughout 2019 represented the highest result since 2010, only a few of the objects were age groups

Around 27 600 new buildings were approved in 2019 throughout Austria. That was the highest value since 2010. The extensions to be determined ranged from around 1% or 400 properties (compared to the next highest value in the previous year) to around 19% or 4 300 absolute (compared to the lowest number from 2012).

Around 6% or 1 600 of all new buildings approved in 2019 represented age rates. In the case of residential buildings, this proportion was about one percentage point higher (which corresponded to about 1 400 age rates), the majority of non-residential properties were 3% (or 200 absolute).

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.