The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has released its February 2018 statistical bulletin for construction output in Great Britain, and the figures are showing a decline.
This decline of construction output within the three-month on three-month series shows an overall fall of 0.8% in February. The cause of this has been determined as the continued decline in repair and maintenance work, which itself has fallen by 2.6% in the same month.
Month-on-month shows a similar trend of contraction, with a decrease of 1.6% in February 2018, which the bulletin reports to have stemmed from a 9.4% decrease in infrastructure new work.
Looking at the month-on-year figures, we can see that compared to February 2017, construction output fell by 3%, resulting in the biggest month-on-year fall since March 2013.
It has been stated in the bulletin that the snow we received towards the end of February could be partly to blame for these results. Having received information about the effects of the snow on the businesses of those questioned in a small survey, ONS believe the extreme weather conditions have taken its toll, but an exact specification of the damage caused to the industry cannot be determined.
However, overall output may be down, but it is promising to also see reports that new build work is increasing.
Latest ONS Statistics Show Declining Construction Output
Neil Knight, Business Development Director of Spicerhaart Part Exchange & Assisted Move, has commented: “While infrastructure work and repair and maintenance are all declining, construction of new private housing is continuing to grow. A quarter of all construction work in February was for private new builds, which marked a 1.5% rise on January, and a 7.6% rise on February 2017.
“For the past year or so, you haven’t been able to turn on the TV or read a newspaper without seeing stories about new housing plans- just last week the Government pledged £200m of funding for housing projects in the West of England. Clearly, this focus on new housing is starting to pay dividends, and while we are nowhere near producing the level of new housing we need to keep up with demand, we are moving in the right direction. I just hope that this trend continues.”
Shaun Church, Director at mortgage broker Private Finance, has also commented on the statistics: “The government has vowed to get Britain building and it looks like these initiatives are starting to bear fruit, with the value of private housing construction increasing by￡232m in February. Private housing and infrastructure were the only areas of construction that experienced growth in an otherwise struggling sector.
“The widening void between supply and demand is one of the greatest factors driving housing unaffordability in the UK. The construction of more homes will help bring homeownership back to attainable heights for millions of aspiring homeowners.
“The first-time buyer market is already experiencing a resurgence thanks to Help to Buy and changes to Stamp Duty, and with private residential construction on the up, the prospects for buyers are set to flourish further – provided that construction levels continue to grow and momentum is sustained. The growth in the value of infrastructure work is also positive, helping to build communities and maintain services surrounding families and their homes.
“Buyers ready to pursue their property ambitions should act soon. Lenders continue to have a strong appetite for business, and interest rates remain competitive. Rate rises are expected on the horizon, however, and although any increases are likely to be modest, it may be wise to lock into a good mortgage rate sooner rather than later.”