Building permit approvals decline in 2023

APPROVED building permits fell 3.4% in 2023, reversing the 4.2% growth recorded in 2022, though the value of overall projects rose, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported on Wednesday.

Building permits totaled 163,663, covering 39.54 million square meters of floor area.

Projects covered by the approved permits were valued at P457.36 billion, up 6%.

“Although permits fell in 2023, the increase in construction cost boosted the value of building construction. Also, there were more big-ticket building construction projects that boosted value,” Cid L. Terosa, senior economist at the University of Asia and the Pacific, said in an e-mail.

Permits for residential projects, which accounted for 67.5% of the totals, fell 8.7%. These permits were valued at P200.85 billion.

Of the residential permits, single homes accounted for 86% (valued at P146.08 billion), followed by apartment homes (12.6%, P32.25 billion), and duplex or quadruplex homes (1.2%, P2.44 billion).

Meanwhile, nonresidential permits increased 18.6% year on year to 35,162. Nonresidential permits accounted for 21.5% of approved building permits and were valued at P219.56 billion.

Approved commercial construction applications accounted for 70.7% of all nonresidential permits, totaling 24,851 permits, up 20.9% year on year. These permits were valued at P108.08 billion.

Institutional and industrial permits rose 10.2% and 23% to 5,325 and 2,835, respectively.

Permits for additions to an existing building rose 16.8% to 5,872 and were valued at P5.44 billion while alteration and repair permits totaled 12,097, down 11.4%. They were valued at P31.51 billion.

Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon) had the most approved building projects, making up 24.6% of the total with 40,332 permits, followed by the Central Visayas (18,631), and Central Luzon (18,583).

Mr. Terosa expects the number of permits to continue to decrease this year while the value of building projects rises.

“I think that this trend will persist, but there could be an increase in permits and value once interest rates are cut,” he said.

The PSA said that construction statistics are compiled from the copies of original application forms of approved building permits as well as from the demolition and fencing permits collected every month by the agency’s field personnel from the offices of local building officials. — Karis Kasarinlan Paolo D. Mendoza