Colombian authorities in July approved permits for construction on 33% less area than in the same month of 2008 as the area covered by housing permits fell, according to government figures released Tuesday.
Permits covering 1.30 million square meters were issued in July, the National Statistics Department, or DANE, said. The area covered for housing decreased 34% to 946,000 square meters.
Construction licenses issued in the 12 months through July covered 14.17 million square meters, 24% less than in the 12-month period through July 2008.
In the first seven months of the year, construction licenses declined 28% to 7.26 million square meters from the same period in 2008.
Alejandra Gonzalez, analyst at investment bank Corficolombiana, estimates the construction sector will fall 2.3% this year, compared with a 2.8% expansion last year.