Facts & Figures

Lead Market Urban Construction & Housing

In 2020, the lead market Urban Construction & Housing is characterised by positive economic indicators, although growth is not as strong as in 2019. Around 11.6 % of the workforce in the Metropole Ruhr is employed in this lead market. Measured in terms of the share of employment in the lead market, construction-specific services, including trade, rental and administration (46.7 %) and the finishing trade (33.8 %) are particularly relevant.

Regional specialisations exist in the cities of Oberhausen, Bottrop, Herne and Gelsenkirchen. In the period under review from 2019 to 2020, the number of employees increased by 2,617 people (+1.3 %) to 205,972 employees. Growth was thus more dynamic in the Metropole Ruhr and in North Rhine-Westphalia (1.3 % in each case) than in the nationwide comparison area (+0.4 %). With the exception of the processes, materials, materials sector (-2.2 %), all submarkets were able to record positive figures in employment growth.

Key Insights

to the Lead Market

205.972 (+1.3%)


40,272 (+1.3%)


42.04 bn. € (+9.6%)


In 2018, by far the most companies in the Metropole Ruhr were active in the lead market Urban Construction & Housing (40,272 companies). In addition, the lead market was able to show the third strongest turnover development compared to the other lead markets (+9.6 %). The reason for the positive development is the submarket of neighbouring services (+11.0 %), especially renting, leasing of owned or leased land, buildings and flats. In addition, the number of companies (+1.3 %) has increased slightly in the entire market compared to the previous year. If one compares the percentage increase in turnover, the submarket processes, materials: machines and tools (+40.5 %) has developed most dynamically, especially companies that manufacture construction and building material machines recorded strong turnover gains.

The initially predicted decline in demand on the real estate market in the wake of the Corona pandemic did not materialise: in 2020, prices for property and rent continued to rise, and demand for housing remains high, even in urban areas4. Nevertheless, the pandemic and the measures taken to contain it have brought about some changes, some of whose long-term effects on housing demand are already foreseeable. In particular, there is a trend towards working from home, which, according to recent surveys, may continue after the end of the pandemic. This is changing the demands on private living space: larger flats tend to be needed in order to be able to combine working and living. Features such as balconies or gardens are also gaining in importance as more time is spent at home. In addition, the need for small second homes for commuters could decrease in the medium and long term.

On the other hand, the more people work permanently from home, the demand for commercial office space will tend to decline. In this case, it is conceivable that in the future the conversion of office space will also play a greater role in the creation of new residential space in urban areas. In general, it has also been shown that the desire for living close to nature and thus the trend towards suburbanisation is continuing and has been given further impetus by the Corona pandemic. The lead market of construction and housing will therefore remain an important economic factor in the Metropole Ruhr in the future - but possibly with a different focus.

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