Construction growth flatlines as private housing falters

Aaron Morby 9 months ago
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Construction output growth flatlined in the three months to May as private housing dipped, after previously holding up output figures.

But the latest figures showed strengthened growth in public housing new activity and stirrings of life in the commercial market, with three-month figures up by 8.4% and 2.2% respectively.

Disappointing output figures follow the more-forward looking PMI buyers data for construction in June which suggested output fell at its fastest rate since the financial crisis.

With a hard deal Brexit also looking more likely industry is calling on the next Prime Minister to stimulate construction and house building for the benefit of the wider economy.

Construction output – May
Volume £m May on April May on
May 2018
March-May
on Dec-Feb
March-May on
period last year
Total all work 13,780 0.6 1.7 0.0 2.9
Total all new work 9,044 0.4 3.6 0.3 4.0
Total repair and maintenance 4,736 1.2 -1.8 -0.5 0.9
New housing
Public 614 -0.1 25.8 8.4 25.6
Private 3,100 1.8 6.6 -0.2 5.0
Other new work
Infrastructure 1,887 1.7 13.6 1.3 14.6
Excl infrastructure
Public 746 -2.0 -7.3 -9.0 -2.0
Private industrial 418 10.2 -0.7 -2.9 -5.5
Private commercial 2,278 -3.2 -6.8 2.2 -4.9
Repair and maintenance
Public housing 603 3.8 2.0 -3.2 -1.2
Private housing 1,751 2.9 -6.8 -2.5 -2.7
Non-housing R&M 2,383 -0.7 1.3 1.7 4.3

 

A spokeswoman for the Federation of Master Builders, said: “Alarm bells will be ringing in the ears of the two candidates vying to be Prime Minister, with these latest stats showing that the construction sector is at a standstill.

“Whoever wins the race for PM, I want to see that person take decisive action in their first days in office by intervening to stimulate our waning sector, which is so vital to the health of the wider economy. Indeed, without it, our country’s house building aspirations will be impossible to deliver.”

Blane Perrotton, managing director of the national property consultancy and surveyors Naismiths, said: “Months of extreme volatility have left the construction industry as punchdrunk as a boxer – tottering three steps forward and then two steps back.

“With the prospect of a hard Brexit increasing not receding, few in the industry expect the growth-sapping cloud of uncertainty to lift any time soon. Against that backdrop, stagnation isn’t failure, it’s almost an achievement.”

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