On February 3, 2020, The then Minister of Housing, Jonathan Malagón, highlighted how in 2019 only in social interest housing (VIS) 119,000 units were sold; Without a doubt, a record number. A month later, after knowing the consolidated data for January and February, he revealed that more than 22,000 new homes had been sold, including the VIS offer and that of the medium and high ranges (Non-VIS). Another unprecedented piece of information that traced the route of a historic year for the sector.

However, on March 12, 2020, the unexpected happened: a health emergency was declared and restrictions were imposed in Colombia due to Covid-19, with the consequences for the local economy and the effects on all sectors, including construction.

With the uncertainty of the projects in progress slowed down or developing in the middle of pace because of the measures taken, builders began to accumulate completed homes. In the first quarter of 2020, according to the National Administrative Department of Statistics (Dane), this indicator added 3,271 homes completed, but not sold.

(You might be interested: OECD also thinks that Colombia will do better than expected in 2023: why?)

Builders have been piling up finished homes.

The setting couldn’t be more challenging.: with a pandemic involved, sales rooms closed and an uncertain future, the projections of analysts and representatives of the building industry were not encouraging. Even so, the opportune reaction of the Government and the fact of being aligned with the businessmen managed to counteract, to a large extent, the debacle that some foreshadowed.

Sales improved, in part, because virtual businesses grew stronger, and that was reflected in fewer completed homes pending sale. In fact, at the end of the fourth quarter, they were down to 2,895. Even, against all odds, in 2020 it obtained 176,000 new homes sold, of which 125,000 were VIS.

(Other news: Analysis: the reasons why buying a home in Manizales is increasingly difficult)

2020 obtained 176,000 new homes sold.

In addition, the strong peaks of the pandemic, the indicator of unsold completed homes showed during a behavior that resulted in the market: in the first quarter of 2021 they dropped to 2,577 units; in the second quarter, to 2,431, until closing the fourth quarter with 2,002. In the year 2022 the trend continued and closed the same period with 1,509 finished new residential units without selling.

(Also: These are the cities where the rent of premises and housing increased the most in 2023)

However, today the situation is different, and we are not in a pandemic! The first quarter of the year reported 1,735 houses and apartments accumulated in builders’ inventories And this is worrying, because as long as that offer is not released, the initiatives for new projects will continue to decrease, because it is a risk to add a stock that should be meeting the demand.

Until now, the first semester of 2023 will end, but it can already be predicted that, contrary to what we were celebrating despite the pandemic, this will be a year of indicators to forget.

(Other issues: We will have a drop in housing starts in Bogotá in 2024: Secretary of Habitat)

Gabriel E. Florez G.
Special for EL TIEMPO
On Twitter: @GabrielFlorezG