Construction & Materials

Construction & Materials


There are a total of 22,825,046 residential units (excluding residential units uninhabited and second- home) in Iran. An important part of units is considered as small housing and 31.4% of which are less than 75 meters. In the meantime, the share of units of 50 to 75 meters of the total residential units is 21.7% and the share of units is less than 50 meters, equivalent to 9.7%. Shrinking household size, on the one hand and high housing prices, on the other hand, have boomed the “small” housing market. There are 2,587,607 vacant residential units in Iran. Over the past five years, the number of vacant houses was 1,663,000 units, which means, 924,000 apartment units have been added to residential units in the year ended March 2012. Of all residential units,39.3% are apartments and 60.7% are non-apartment. There are also 24,196,000 households, 1,371,000 of which are not homeowners. Additionally, 2,870,000 residential units were added, between 2011 and 2017. Of these, 91.4% were apartments and 8.6% were non-apartments. According to statistics, 79.2% of the rural residents are owners, while 12.3 have rental houses.

Housing in Iran economy

Due to a 47.3% reduction in capital assets credits (developmental budget), the construction sector has been suffering recession, since year ended March 2013, which resulted in 29.3% reduction in the value added of the public sector construction(at constant prices in the year ended March 2012). In this year, the added value of the privately-owned buildings has grown by 4.8% since the beginning of 2012. Nevertheless, the value added of private constructions was also experiencing a negative growth and aggravating the recession in the construction sector in the year ended March 2014. The construction sector has been experiencing negative value added from 2013 to the year ended March 2017.

According statistics of national accounts also show that the value added of the construction sector for constant price in the year ended March 2017 was about 37% less than the value added of the construction in the year ended March 2012.This means that there is a large gap in the construction sector and related services. In other words, there are currently large potentials in the construction sector and affiliated industries which can attract funds and capitals. The share of construction industry in GDP was 4.5%, in the year ended March 2017.

The construction of the public sector in the Iranian economy accounted for about 30% of the value added of the entire construction sector. However, changes in the value added of the public construction can affect the entire sector. The most important factor affecting the value added of the construction is the level of credit allocation to the ownership of capital assets (development payments). On the other hand, the development payments dependence on oil revenues has caused shocks on the value added of government construction. The private sector construction accounts for about 70% of the value added of the entire sector. First the value added is relatively less fluctuating than that of the public sector construction. Second, it creates more value for the public sector production unit.

The share of housing in the household budget

The lease price and house rent cost hold more than 30% of the total gross cost of an Iranian household. The rent value of house was about 130 mn IRR, up from 12.8%, in the year ended March 2017, compared to the previous year.

Household’s distribution status based on housing ownership

The census of the year ended March 2017, show that 60.6% of citizens are house-owners and 30.8% are tenants, compared to the owners 62.7% the tenants 26.6, in the year ended March 2012. These figures indicate a higher demand for rental house over the last few years, which could be due to lower income, poor facilities or unwillingness to accept house purchase risk.

The largest numbers of Iranian households live in brick-and-beam buildings made with iron bars. The number of households living in buildings with clay, mud and wood materials has the lowest share of 1.5%.

Construction permits

Since 2013, the number of construction permits issued by the municipalities has followed a downtrend to 32% until the year ended March 2015, which continued to the year ended March 2016, as the number of construction permits reached 102,000, down from 13.4% in the year ended March 2015. However, the decline in the number of construction permits issued by municipalities in the metropolitan areas in the year ended March 2017stopped and amounted to about 114,000 permits and grew by 12.1%. Considering the prospect of the issued construction permits, the growth of this variable in the year ended March 2017 would be one of the signs of increasing the private sector investing in the construction sector in the year ending March 2018 and avoiding from the five-year recession in this sector.

Private sector investment in new urban areas

The GDP ratio to the private sector investment in the construction was about 10%, during 1959-2017, while in the year ended March 2017 it was about 14% and over the past four years has always been above the average rate. This means that the return of this proportion to its average amount will require a significant increase in private sector investment in the construction. The private sector invested in new buildings in urban areas, about 602,000 bn IRR, in the year ended March 2017. This investment declined to 14.1% compared to year ended March 2016.

Over the past four years, the number of just started buildings by the private sector in urban areas has been decreasing from 95% in the year ended March 2012 to almost 90% in the year ended March 2016.

Housing Access Index

The length of the waiting period for house ownership was 11.08 years, in the year ended March 2012 meaning that a household with an average monthly wage and a 100% savings could purchase a 100 sq m apartment unit at an average price over a period of 11 years. Housing prices rose to over 12 years during 2013-2014 and reached 10.30 years, in the year ended March 2016. Bubble evacuation of housing price in the year ended 2015 and the relative stability of the nominal price in the year ended March 2016 affected the household economic strength by the increase in the purchase mortgage ceiling and the “result” would appear as “improving the access index to housing” within two years.


Since the recession, the price index of construction materials has been decreasing from 48% in the year ended March 2013 reached 0.9% in the year ended March 2017. The largest decline occurred in the year ended March 2016, up 6.3%.


Iran has a competitive advantage in cement production with rich resources, including a chain of abundant calcareous mines. The cement industry accounted for 38% of development budget, with annual turnover about 4.8 bn USD.

Capacity & Production

The nominal capacity of cement production is over 80 mn tons of 72 production plants, of which 64 units are gray cement, 7 units white cement and 1 unit are dedicated to both gray and white cement. In total, Iran’s cement production totaled 55.26 mn tons, down 5.8%, in the year ended March 201, year-on-year, about 48 mn tons were consumed and nearly 7 mn tons were exported.

Iran was the 7th largest cement producer in the world in 2015 and the 3rd largest producer in Asia the world 1st rank in cement export. Also, the lowest cement price in the world belongs to Iran.


Due to the recession in the construction market and the development of cement capacities, cement consumption has decreased over the past two years from 57 mn tons in the year ended March 2014 to 47.9 mn tons in the year ended March 2017, with current per capita cement consumption 600 kg per year.


Cement and clinker export totaled 399 mn USD, equivalent to 11,385,000 tons, which is 41% in value and 10% in volume, in the year ended March 2017, less than the same period last year. Of this amount, 144 mn USD was 4,233,000 tons for clinker the export of which during this period was up 22% and 33%, in terms of value and volume.

The amount of exported cement and clinker has been decreasing, since 2014. The export cost in transportation, rail and customs and given that Iraq is the main export destination for cement, the ban on the cement entry into the Iraqi market and the tariff restrictions imposed by this country are assumed as the main obstacles.


The amount of imported cement was zero in the year ended March 2000 and 23,800 tons by the year ended March 2003. The largest amount of cement import came to 219,000 tons in the year ended March 2004 and since then has been decreasing. In fact, with a significant increase in cement production, Iran has gained self-sufficient since year ended March 2009.

By increasing the production capacity in recent years, Iran has become one of the major cement producers in the world, which in 2015 gained global 7th ranking. In recent years, cement has experienced excess supply which resulted from increase of cement production and stagnation in construction and budget cuts.

Export is the only solution to the domestic excessive supply. In recent years, export have faced various problems, including the fact that Iraq, as the largest export target, has imposed tariffs of 45% on import to support domestic producers, besides, the import volume of CIS countries has been declined. The continuation of this process could cause Iran’s cement industry to face a lot of problems and producers should seek and strengthen market demand. Some suggestions were made by the Minister of Roads and Urban Development regarding the use of cement and concrete in construction and development projects, instead of steel structures, pavements, railway tracks, roads, gangways as well as increasing concrete in buildings than steel, which might increase domestic demand for cement.

Ceramic & Tile

Iranian culture in producing tile with impressive designs promises cultural transfer. There is a production capacity of 700 to 750 mn sq m in ceramic tile, of which only 50% is utilized. In 2015, Iran ranked the world 9th and 4th in ceramic and tile production and export .


Due to the recession in the construction sector, the production of tile and ceramic has been decreasing in recent years, so that in the year ended March 2017 the production of 340 mn sq m has decreased by more than 30% compared to year ended March 2013. The domestic consumption of ceramic and tile has also been decreasing in the year ended March 2017, as having dropped 25% compared to year ended March 2016. The amount of tile and ceramic production is more than double the domestic demand. At present, the per capita consumption of tile and ceramic is less than 2 sq m.

In 2015, with the production of approximately 300 mn sq m of ceramic tile, Iran accounted for 2.4% of the world’s tile and ceramic production and ranked 9th in the world’s largest tile and ceramic manufacturers.

Export & Import

The export of ceramic and tile has been impressive in recent years. Over the last ten years, there has been a lot of investment in the capacity building and production of ceramic tiles, which has resulted in production and export increase and gaining the world top ranking, along with China and Turkey. Since addressing domestic market and import restrictions by producers, the export has always been significantly higher than import. The comparing of import and export shows that the price of imported tiles and ceramics is more than 1.5 times the price of export, as the price of ceramic and tiles imported to Iran per square meter is 4.16 USD and the export price per meter Square is 2.74 USD.

In the year ended March 2017, Iran’s ceramic and tile have been exported to over 70 countries, as Iraq with over 74% of the total export being the main target for the export. Since Iraq as the main export destination would impose import restrictions, the marketing is still another problem. At present, Iran can compete with other countries with high quality products and provide new markets through appropriate marketing. Although countries such as Vietnam, South Korea, Philippines, Russia, Australia, Algeria and Japan are among the main importers, Iran do not have market share in these countries. However, with appropriate marketing, exporting tiles to these countries will expand and conditions will be rebound.

Iran import origins include China, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Spain, Italy, among which, China has a significant share.

Rebar & Beam

Despite steel beams, rebar production has been increasing in the recent years.

Construction Glassware

Construction glass comprises of various types of flat, multi-walled, float glass blocks and decorative glass. Construction glassware export totaled 94 mn USD, up 24%, in the year ended March 2017, compared to the previous year, with Iraq as the largest export target.

Investment advantages and potential

  • Iran is keen on attracting capital in residential buildings and construction projects, if realized, will subsequently lead to economic growth and a dramatic improvement in employment indicators. According to the World Bank on July 2015, the entry of FDI into the construction sector and its effect on employment is 10 times higher than investment in other areas in Iran. The construction sector in Iran is a private industry.
  • Production capacity of 80 mn tons of cement as one of the major materials.
  • Construction materials abundance.
  • Owning 80% of the ceramic tile market, manufacturers have gained a good experience in the Iraqi market.
  • Raw material supply from 80% to 95% and thousand years history in the production have made this industry less competitive in the region.



  •  Domestic potential in production of needed construction materials
  •  The presence of the private sector for investment
  •  The presence of a specialized and educated workforce


  •  Short longevity of buildings
  •  Lack of continuity of construction, housing and building chain
  •  The presence of potentials in the construction and related industries
  •  Unfortunately, the materials used in construction projects are far from international standards and since designers consider assumptions about the use of standard materials, they face with ambiguities and fundamental contradictions at the time of implementation of the project which is basically unacceptable.
  •  Import of construction materials is a problem that threatens the construction and quality of products and the issuance of licenses for the import of construction materials and non-quality valves is an example of the neglect of the resistance economy.
  •  The use of various iron, beams made in non-standard workshops without the presence of experienced
    engineers, non-standard concrete make the structure of the project poor and hazardous in the event of an earthquake.


  •  The value of annual maintenance of construction is 3.2 bn USD, which is a very good potential for entering engineering services.
  •  Tax deductions for construction that comply with a government-approved standard
  •  A large and young population ready to marry


  •  People are not familiar with new technologies
  •  Accepted traditional methods of construction by people
  •  Non-specialized engineering and non-standard materials
  •  The diminutive role of saving in construction culture
  •  Asynchrony of entering the new technology and the culture of its use
  •  The administrative bureaucracy of Iran’s licensing is high

Construction industry in Capital Market

The real estate and mass construction in the capital market with a value of 1,408 mn USD has accounted for almost a share of 1.2% of the total market value. The P/E ratio is 12.14.


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