Housebuilding continues to pick-up across UK

Housebuilding in the UK is continuing to rebound with chartered surveyors across the country reporting growth, according to the latest RICS construction market survey.

During the third quarter of the year, a record net balance of 41% more respondents reported rises in privately-funded housing projects compared with the previous period (from +31% in Q2). Significantly, this is the first time that every part of the country has reported growth since the beginning of the market crash six years ago and demonstrates that the long-awaited upturn in numbers of new homes may finally be underway.

Furthermore, the overall construction sector saw a welcome boost during the three months to September, with workloads rising at their strongest rate since the summer of 2004 (net balance +31%).

Alongside housebuilding, this growth was largely driven by private commercial and industrial developments as funding finally begins to filter through to actual shovels in the ground. This will prove welcome news to an economy that has seen construction struggle considerably for some time.

As the summer months drew to a close, there was also good news for employment prospects with a net balance of +49 expecting more jobs to be created in the sector over the next 12 months. Worryingly, however, this improving picture for employment is already being reflected in a jump in reported skill shortages, highlighting the potential for capacity issues if the recovery continues to gather pace.

Significantly, surveyors are expecting a sharp acceleration in business activity during the next twelve months. A net balance of 71 percent of respondents see the volume of work picking up speed, with output likely to rise by close to four percent over the period. This optimism was also reflected in positive predictions for company profits as the sector begins to dig its way out of the downturn.

Simon Rubinsohn, RICS Chief Economist, said: “While it’s certainly good news that construction – and especially housebuilding – is finally on the rise right across the UK, we are certainly not out of the woods yet.

“Critically, we’re still way behind in terms of building enough homes to meet the nation’s growing housing need and overall construction projects are at a historical low. In the face of this challenge, it is a particularly concerning that we are already receiving reports of some skill shortages as well as capacity constraints for some building materials such as bricks.”

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