Building permits drop by 5% across Europe in 2022

By Neil Gerrard02 June 2023

Building permits (in terms of useful floor area) fell by almost 5% in the European Union (EU) in 2022, according to the latest figures from Eurostat.

Permits dropped to 386.7 million sq m last year, following a 15% increase in 2021, reflecting the rebound in the year after the Covid-19 pandemic peak.

In terms of number of dwellings, irrespective of their size, building permits also fell by 4% in the EU, after an increase of 16% in 2021.

Between 2015 and 2019, the number of permits went up by almost 6% on average per year. The Covid-19 pandemic interrupted these developments but the increases in 2021 compensated for the decline in 2020.

Chart showing change in building permits by useful floor area, 2021 vs 2022 Source: Eurostat

Despite the fact that there were decreases in both indicators in 2022, the number of permits was still high, staying above pre-pandemic levels, Eurostat said.

There were nine countries where building permits (in terms of useful floor area) increased. They were:

  • Malta (+29%)
  • Spain (+28%)
  • Croatia (+21%)
  • Slovenia (+17%)
  • Bulgaria (+12%)
  • Italy (+8%)
  • Hungary (+7%)
  • Portugal (+3%)
  • France (+2%)

In the remaining EU countries, the decreases in the number of building permits varied between -28% in Luxembourg and -1% in Romania.

Chart showing change in building permits 2015-2022 Source: Eurostat
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