The annual report from the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) has revealed that more tall buildings were completed in 2014 than any previous year on record.
2011 previously held the record for annual skyscraper construction, when 81 buildings over 200 metres were finished. The CTBUH now claims that 2014 is the "tallest year ever".
Tall buildings experts Daniel Safarik and Antony Wood, who prepared the report, suggest the "skyscraper surge" could be due to the return of a pent-up demand in real estate markets, following the lull after the recession.
"Now that six years have passed since the global economic crisis/recession began in 2008, and given the long gestation and construction periods common to tall buildings, we are almost certainly seeing a post-recessionary recovery," they wrote.
The report claims that 58 of these high rises – approximately 60 per cent – are located in China, further increasing Asia's dominance of the tall-building industry. The continent was responsible for three quarters of the tallest buildings of 2013, and also dominated skyscraper construction in 2012.
"Clearly, the Chinese juggernaut has not yet run out of steam," wrote Safarik and Wood. "The country continues to see new 200-metre-plus completions in cities that previously had few or no such buildings, indicating that the massive plan to urbanise the country – requiring the urban relocation of some 250 million people – is underway."
The experts believe it would be dangerous to assume this ongoing boom is a sign of economic health. "The Chinese national and regional governments are principal stakeholders in many of these projects, and the 'cause and effect' of the situation is not always clear."
Last year also saw the completion of 11 "supertalls" – skyscrapers with a height of 300 metres or greater. This includes the 300-metre Abeno Harukas in Osaka, which has become Japan's tallest building, and Chile's 300-metre Torre Costanera, the first supertall in South America.
The world's tallest building of 2014 was SOM's 541-metre One World Trade Center, which has also been named the the most expensive skyscraper of all time.
The experts predict skyscraper construction will further increase in 2015, when they believe between 105 and 130 200-metre-plus skyscrapers will be complete. They also predict that 106 skyscrapers will either complete or top out in China.
Top image of Chongqing courtesy of Shutterstock.