The Spanish building sector grew way above the European average in January, according to data from Eurostat, the EU statistics office.
Year on year, Spanish construction activity rose by 14 per cent in the first month of the year, compared to an average of 3 per cent for the EU as a whole.
On a monthly basis, construction activity in Spain grew by 2 per cent in January, double the EU average, and 0.10 per cent higher than the Eurozone average.
The January increase in building activity came after widespread declines at the end of 2014, with Spain down 0.7 per cent in December, the EU down 0.2 per cent, and the Eurozone down 2.7 per cent.
Among the countries with data available for January 2015, the highest year-on-year increases were led by Spain (up 14.4 per cent), Romania (up 12.8 per cent), Sweden (up 11.3 per cent), the Czech Republic (up 8.3 per cent) and Hungary (up 8.1 per cent), while the biggest accumulated falls were registered in Bulgaria (down 4.2 per cent), the UK (down 3.3 per cent) and Italy (down 2.4 per cent).
Looking at the month-on-month statistics (compared to December), the largest rises were found in Slovenia (up 11.2 per cent), the Czech Republic (up 8.7 per cent), Hungary (up 6.6 per cent) and Germany (up 5 per cent), while the most pronounced decreases were in Romania (down 5.3 per cent), the UK (down 2.8 per cent) and Bulgaria (down1.7 per cent).
Encouraging as the Spanish figures of growth in building activity sound, they don’t change the fact that the Spanish home building industry is still deep in the doldrums, where it has been for more than five years, and will probably never return to anything like its former glory (or shame, depending on which way you see it). Housing starts are still historically low for a country the size of Spain, with its tired housing stock.