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Considerable economic change is afoot throughout Sweden with a direct effect on the country’s construction industry, which positions it at the precipice of a deep transformation. After a surge in construction investments over recent years, the sector now faces a downturn as high inflation, the spike in interest rates, and climbing costs of materials and energy are putting a damper on current construction projects.
Total building investments are now poised to witness a cooling trend, anticipated to contract by approximately 10%. Civil engineering investments, a critical component of the construction sector, are forecasted to decrease by around 2% in 2023. In mid-2022, the government unveiled a national plan for transport infrastructure spanning the period from 2022 to 2033. Valued at SEK 799 billion, the plan allocates substantial funds for investments, operations and maintenance of railways and roads. However, a shift in governmental priorities, especially with the decision against pursuing new high-speed rail lines, shows a pivot towards climate-smart commuting and freight traffic.
The railway investment index rose by 11.1%, and the road investment index by 18.6%, reflecting the sector's resilience amid economic fluctuations. Notably, the road investment surge is attributed, in part, to a sharp increase in oil prices. Within the multifaceted construction market, key sectors such as commercial, industrial, infrastructure, energy and utilities, institutional and residential construction will continue to play pivotal roles in the upcoming decade. Residential construction came out victorious as the leading sector in 2022 despite economic challenges.
Looking ahead, the commercial construction sector is poised for growth due to a steady economic recovery, which will increase investor and business confidence. Industrial construction anticipates buoyancy due to positive trends in manufacturing and investments in Electric Vehicles battery plants. Infrastructure construction will be a focal point of growth, aligning with the government's commitment to enhancing road and rail networks.