Sharq crossing ... a key new road project in Qatar.

QATAR’S construction sector is projected to expand by 14.1 per cent this year, up from 13.6 per cent in 2013, and may well accelerate faster in 2015.

The main driver is the government’s heavy investment in economic infrastructure, particularly local roads, expressways, the Doha metro and rail, and drains and sanitation, at a pace that is likely to pick up over 2014 and 2015, according to the Qatar Economic Outlook 2014-15.

The construction of new health centres and education facilities will also entail heavy spending. Private construction activity centred on residential and commercial real estate development, including new malls, hotels and labour accommodation, will also buttress construction growth, the report said.

Growing demand by the construction sector for cement and metals linked to the large capital projects should encourage some investment in new capacity, prompting manufacturing growth to recover some of its earlier impetus.

Citing Qatar Central Bank’s real estate price index data, the report noted the country’s real estate transaction prices at end-2013 were 20.7 per cent higher than a year earlier. While land and building prices continue to appreciate, the average index level for 2013 (180.4) is still 6.1 per cent lower than the index peak of August 2008 (192.2), the report said.