Survey overview and highlights

Our 2019 international construction market survey (ICMS) brings together data and experience from 64 global markets. It is our largest and most in-depth survey to date, providing insights into the current state and direction of the global construction industry.

Our 2019 survey draws on construction data and analysis from real estate projects around the world, providing asset investors and owners with an even greater insight to the constantly changing dynamics of global construction activity. With the addition of 18 new markets, this year’s survey now encompasses 84 percent of global GDP.

Markets in new countries included in this year’s survey are:

  • Auckland and Christchurch – New Zealand
  • Harare – Zimbabwe
  • Mexico City – Mexico
  • Riyadh – Saudi Arabia
  • Stockholm – Sweden
  • Vienna – Austria.

The additions of key markets within countries already covered in the survey enables more comprehensive cross-country comparisons to be drawn. This year, these are:

  • Atlanta, Chicago, Indianapolis and Phoenix – USA
  • Vancouver, Ottawa and Edmonton – Canada
  • Berlin and Frankfurt, Germany and Barcelona, Spain – Europe
  • Guangzhou – China.

2018 was the peak of the global construction cycle that started in 2009, following the global financial crisis. As a result, the construction sector has begun 2019 with considerable momentum. This impetus should continue to help support the global economy during the year. Of the markets surveyed, 28 percent are hot or overheating and a further 36 percent continue to warm up.

Global economic turmoil will continue; markets stumbled at the end of 2018, Brexit is in full swing and trade wars are impacting. But the strength of construction in many markets shown in our survey indicates that they may be cushioned from the full effects of any economic downturn.

Key highlights

Here are some of the key market highlights from ICMS 2019:

  • 35 markets are warm, hot or overheating
  • 23 markets are warming up
  • 5 markets are cooling
  • 18 new markets in the 2019 survey

You can compare market costs with our market comparison tool.

Survey research

Our research gathers data on market conditions, as well as challenges and opportunities our local experts are seeing on the ground. We also analyse input costs such as labour and materials, and the average cost per square metre across different construction types from residential to commercial.

A variety of construction cost comparison methodologies are adopted to ensure our findings deliver accuracy and insight. As well as straight-line USD conversion, we also use purchasing power parity (PPP) and location factors. These methods remove the impact from changing exchange rates, to standardise our data and draw valid conclusions.

Read more about ICMS 2019