Upward leap in construction activity was achieved last year in defiance of global trend

Construction activity in Lebanon increased by one-third in 2008, according to figures from a local trade body.

The Order of Engineers in Beirut and Tripoli said that construction permits covering 9.4m m2 were granted in the first 10 months of 2008, up 31% from the same period the previous year.

Bulldozer in Beirut
Credit: Mayphar

Construction activity peaked in September and October, when the industry in the rest of the world was seeing jobs cancelled and postponed.

The highest demand for construction permits was in the Mount Lebanon region, where 49% of the country's construction work went on. Beirut, by contrast, had only 14% of the work.

Lebanese expatriates investing in the country have caused a 30% surge in house prices in recent years, though the Order of Engineers warned that this may fall in 2009 due to instability in the Gulf Co-operation Council countries.