Approved building permits declined by 1.9% year on year in the first quarter of the year, mainly due to lower residential constructions, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported on Friday.
Construction starts, measured by building permit approvals, totaled 40,210 in the first quarter, showing a decrease from 40,990 in the same period last year, PSA data showed.
This figure remains higher compared to the 8.6% decline (37,576 permits) in the fourth quarter last year.
The total value of the building permits reached P101.7 billion, representing a 5.5% increase from the same quarter last year, covering a combined area of 8.70 million square meters (sq.m).
Residential construction continued to hold the majority of approved building permits, with 27,489 permits despite a 5.2% year-on-year decline. These permits were valued at P49.80 billion, indicating a 2% decrease from the previous year, with a total floor area of 4.65 million sq.m.
By residential type, single-detached houses had the largest share of permits with 86.8% (23,849 permits), experiencing a 4.2% decline compared to the 1.9% drop seen in the same quarter last year but still higher than the 9.7% decline recorded in the October-to-December 2022 period.
Other residential projects included apartments (3,199 permits), duplexes and quadruplexes (397), and other residential projects (34), while there were 10 permits issued for condominiums.
Non-residential permits, which accounted for 21.3% of the total, grew six times year on year to 24.2% or 8,553 permits, with a total value of P44.83 billion and a cumulative floor area of 3.93 million sq.m.
The surge in non-residential permits was led by commercial buildings, increasing by 27.2% to 6,168 permits, followed by institutional buildings (1,183 permits), industrial buildings (696), and agricultural buildings (329).
Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon) continued to have the highest number of constructions during the quarter with 10,272 permits, followed by Central Luzon (5,517 permits) and Central Visayas (4,594). Together, these three regions contributed more than half or 53.6% of the total construction value during the quarter.
Additionally, 50.7% of the total permits also came from these three regions.
In terms of value, Calabarzon retained its position with the highest construction value at P23.33 billion, followed by Central Luzon with P18.39 billion, and the National Capital Region with P13.07 billion.
According to the statistics agency, the average cost of construction per sq.m increased by 1.9% year on year to P10,855.46 from P10,652.50 last year. — Bernadette Therese M. Gadon