GB back on track

13 June 2016

The Great British construction industry grew 2.5% month-on-month during April, according to the latest figures by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The report also stated that all new work increased 2.9%, while all repair and maintenance increased 1.9%.

Compared to April 2015, however, output in Great Britain fell 3.7%.

On a quarterly basis, new orders were said to have decreased 1.2% for the first quarter of 2016, compared to the fourth quarter of 2015, and 1.2% compared with the first quarter of 2015.

Charles Holland, head of residential investment at London Estate Agents Marsh & Parsons, said, “Construction output grew in April after March’s pause for breath, continuing the longer term upward trend.

“Private new housing is leading this charge which is welcome news both for prospective homeowners and the wave of stakeholders with a vested interest in meeting ambitious housebuilding targets.”

Holland added that the levels currently seen were relatively modest given the extent of what is required, but insisted there appeared to be a genuine desire to get Britain building again.

Meanwhile, Noble Francis, economics director at the Construction Products Association (CPA), said, “Today’s output figures are, of course, encouraging, but what is of greater interest are the forward-looking new orders, which fell 1.2% in the first quarter.

“This was likely led by a 17% drop in the private housing sector for the first quarter versus the fourth quarter, though orders in this sector remained up 18% versus a year ago.

Francis added that other data from across the private housing sector showed that activity there is already improving.

Finally, Michael Thirkettle, CEO of interdisciplinary international construction and property consultancy McBains Cooper, said it was encouraging to see an increase in output, and believes the long-term outlook looked positive.

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