Peru: Construction in progress
Rapid economic growth in recent years has seen a construction boom that has transformed Peru’s urban landscape. However, despite the sector expanding 75.2% over the past five years, the housing deficit is still estimated to require $13.5bn worth of investment over the next decade to close the gap, according to the Lima Chamber of Commerce.
This bodes well for local construction companies, especially considering strong macroeconomic fundamentals have resulted in impressive GDP growth averaging almost 7% over the same five-year time period, even amidst a weak exogenous environment. Economic growth is expected to continue its upward trajectory, averaging 6.5% from 2011 to 2013, according to forecasts from the Central Reserve Bank of Peru (Banco Central de Reserva del Perú, BCRP).
The effect of this growth on the construction sector has been remarkable as relatively low unemployment and rising wages have been instrumental in driving the expansion of the real estate market. Furthermore, $20.5bn in government-sponsored infrastructure projects over the next five years will further fuel the sector’s development.
According to World Bank data, the proportion of the population below the national poverty line fell from 44.5% to 31.3% from 2006 to 2010. Meanwhile, gross national income (GNI) per capita has increased from $2950 to $4700 during the same time period, an average annual increase of 11.9%.
The increased spending power of the country’s middle class is having a palpable effect on home buying as the “B-segment” of the population was responsible for 49% of all home purchases in Lima and Callao in 2011, according to Gino Layseca, the general manager for consulting firm Tinsa Peru.
“The recent tendency of the social housing sector is no longer oriented towards the development of housing projects of 10 or 20 housing units, but towards mega-projects with 500 or more dwellings,” Layseca told local press. He also indicated that there are currently at least 20 such projects in the metropolitan areas of Lima and Callao, which have reduced construction costs due to economies of scale.
Indeed, the recent housing boom has focused primarily on developing homes for middle- and high-income buyers, for the most part excluding low-income homebuyers. The Peruvian Chamber of Construction recently found that the Lima metropolitan area alone had a deficit of 394,903 homes. Some 58% of the total deficit is reckoned to be for homes with a maximum value of just $30,000.
In the absence of private sector development, in 1998 the Ministry of Housing, Construction and Sanitation (Ministerio de Vivienda, Construcción y Saneamiento, MVCS) initiated the real estate fund MiVivienda, which supplies economic and low-cost housing for the C, D and E segments of the population.
The Association of Banks (Asbanc) recently announced that interest rates on loans provided by MiVivienda would fall to 5% this year. The reduction could potentially result in a 30% increase in mortgage loans throughout the year.
According to the 2008-15 Strategic Plan of the MVCS, the national quantitative housing deficit (those citizens without homes) totalled 260,927, while the qualitative housing deficit (those with insufficient housing) was 1.25m. About 60% of the deficit is in urban zones, with 21.5% of the national housing deficit alone found in Lima, which was followed by the cities of Piura (7.1%), Cajamarca (7%) and Cusco (5.6%). It was also estimated that Peru has an average annual demand for 200,000 houses, a very positive sign for the real estate market.
Construction companies will also have plenty of opportunities in the near future as a result of massive investments to the infrastructure network. Plans to pour $20.5bn into major infrastructure projects over the next five years will focus on the construction and paving of the national road network, with $11bn of the total investment reserved for road works. The majority of the remaining budget, some $8.3bn, will go towards the expansion of rail networks.
The BCRP forecasts the construction industry to continue expanding in 2012 and 2013, posting 8.7% and 7.6% growth, respectively. Although this rate is only half the level seen over the past five years, long-term prospects for the construction industry look bright as Peru continues to close gaps in its housing and infrastructure deficits.