Construction area authorized by the issued permits increased by 5.2% y-o-y to a record high of 2.18 million square meters (sqm) during the first two months of 2012, data from the Order of Engineers in Beirut and the North showed this week.
Still, the number of issued permits diminished by 5.6% y-o-y to 2,658 indicating that the expansion of authorized area for construction was due to larger projects being targeted by developers in 2011, rather than an improved market appetite noting that permits are usually issued at least six months after an application is filed. Expansion in area authorized by permits was also evident on a monthly basis in February soaring 33% to 1.25 million sqm from January 2012, against a mere 1.8% monthly increase in transactions. The bulk of projects continued to be absorbed by Mount Lebanon that accounted for 664 or 49.5% of permits and almost 60% of authorized area in February. South Lebanon followed with 202 issued permits or 15% of the total, while North of Lebanon came in third with 141 permits.