Having bounced back from the worst of the pandemic fallout, global construction is set to grow by 2.3% a year in real terms reaching $16.6 trillion by 2030, say forecasters at London-based Global Construction Perspectives in reviewing 112 markets. Four of the 10 fastest growing will be in Asia, with only Myanmar and Japan facing declining outputs, while five are in Africa and one is in the Middle East.

GCP estimates total construction output to have risen in real terms by 4.1% in 2021 to $13.2 trillion after dipping by 0.1% during the pandemic’s first year in 2020. While most markets are recovering from COVID-19, the forecasters report 27 of the sample countries still struggling to catch up, with volumes in 2022 expected to be lower than in 2019.

"The impact of COVID has been far from equal," notes GCP director Mike Betts. "In most countries it's been negative but in some it's been positive as working from home has encouraged people to invest more in their homes." Betts expects pandemic impacts to "be unwound" from next year, when the markets will return to normal trajectories.

GCP bases its forecasts on economic projections by the International Monetary Fund and ON U.S. Central Intelligence Agency data related to country public debt. It also uses population change data from the United Nations and per-capita cement consumption as indicators of each country's position in its construction cycle.

The forecasts show that by 2030, China's domination of the global construction market is expected to fall nearly 3% below 2021 to 32.6% of the total.

Over the same period, the world's second largest market, the U.S., is set to hold its current share of about 13%. With sluggish prospects, Japan is expected to move from third to fourth place while India's global share increase of 2.1% will move it into third place. The next largest markets all have global share under 3%, led by Germany.

From 2023, when pandemic effects are assumed to have dissipated, the fastest growing markets to 2030—with annual growth rates over 8%—are Lebanon, Myanmar, Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania and Bangladesh. Over the same period, Japan is the only country with forecast negative growth of -0.5% a year.

Nearly half of the forecast $3.1 trillion rise in global construction growth this decade is expected to occur in China, the U.S., India and Indonesia. Also significant are smaller but faster expanding markets, at up to 8% a year, which include Bangladesh, Iran, Nigeria and Philippines.

About 75% of last year's world construction took place in nine developed countries and three emerging markets.

China, the U.S. and Japan together accounted for more than 50% of global output, with India ranking fourth.