Output of Hungary’s construction sector rose by an annual 43.2 percent in January, the Central Statistical Office (KSH) said on Wednesday.
Output of the building segment increased by 48.4 percent during the period. Output of the civil engineering segment climbed by 33.4 percent.
KSH said output of the building segment was lifted by home, school and factory construction. In the civil engineering segment, construction of highways, railways and utilities infrastructure supported the increase.
In a month-on-month comparison, output was up 6.4 percent, adjusted for seasonal effects and the number of workdays.
Order stock was up 108.5 percent at the end of January from twelve months earlier. Orders in the building segment were up 22.9 percent and orders in the civil engineering segment increased by 158.6 percent.
New orders were up 5.3 percent annually, rising by 35.0 percent in the building segment but falling by 33.5 percent in the civil engineering segment.
Mihály Varga, the economy minister, told public broadcaster M1 that the construction industry had not yet come up against capacity constraints, which he insisted was thanks to a return of skilled workers from abroad and people on government fostered job schemes entering the primary labour market.
Varga said the number of Hungarian workers abroad had fallen by 19,000 in January compared with the same month in the previous year.
Real earnings growth of 10 percent means that many see that it is worth returning to the country, he added.
Varga noted that any constraints caused by the lack of skilled labour are being offset because construction companies have applied for capacity-building technologies, and, he added, these applications are being processed.
After January’s 43.2 percent growth, the minister said there was room for further growth in the sector.
K and H Bank chief analyst Dávid Németh said mild weather may have supported the sector’s strong start to the year.
Home construction lifted growth in the building segment higher as developers rush to finish projects before the preferential VAT rate expires at the end of 2019, he added.
Takarékbank analyst András Horváth said order stock in the buildings segment would expand further on high demand. The market expects 20,000-25,000 home completions this year, which is still under the ideal level of 40,000, showing room for further growth, he added.