Friday, January 23, 2009

Crisis Causes Slowdown in Construction

The slowdown in construction resulting from the worldwide economic crisis is anticipated to last from months to years. The firm that builds the Pradera malls says that four commercial centers that were to open this quarter will be delayed by at least six months. Projects are delayed in Villa Nueva, Santa Catarina Pinula, Los Olivos, Zone 18, and San Marcos.

Housing construction has experienced a 25 percent drop in demand. The drops range from 10 to 30 percent depending on the project and location. Cementos Progreso, which plans to begin new operations in San Juan Sacatepéquez, will delay that project until next year. The Cámara Guatemalteca de la Construcción says it is necessary to be creative in this environment and that the situation could improve over what has been predicted for 2009.

Despite the current situation, some investors in the construction sector are optimistic and will continue. The Spectrum Group which built Miraflores and recently the Oakland Mall plans to complete projects that involve construction of more than 4,700 homes.

As a result of the crisis, the construction sector in Guatemala los more than 100,000 jobs in 2008 according to the Cámara Guatemalteca de la Construcción. The sector shrank by 3.6 percent in 2008 and in 2009 a further decrease or 4.7 percent is anticipated.

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