Construction grew nationwide by 9% in the first quarter of 2008, with the commercial sector accounting for the lion’s share of that increase, according to the Costa Rican Construction Chamber.
Building was most intense in the San José province, where 528 million square meters were added to the current urban sprawl. That marks a 48% increase over the first quarter last year.
Guanacaste came in second among provinces, with 300 million square meters of construction.
All told, 1.8 million square meters of construction sprouted up around the country from January through March, compared to 1.6 million square meters over the same period last year.
The commercial sector boasted 72% of that growth, with housing accounting for less than 1%.
Randall Murillo, the chamber’s executive director, emphasized the importance of a growing construction industry for the future of the country’s economy.
Murillo pointed to the province’s large size and booming tourism industry as two reasons for its strong placement nationally in the construction sector.
The price index for construction materials likewise saw a boost by more than 6%. At that rate, according to the chamber, prices could increase as much as 18% to 19% by the end of the year.