The CBI economic forecast for May expects the UK economy to grow but at a slower rate through 2016 and 2017, saying global economic risks, including uncertainty ahead of the EU referendum, are starting to weigh on investment plans. Building have surveyed 1,300 professionals and found 63% believe remaining in the EU would be the best outcome for the construction sector. Just 21% thought leaving would be better and 16% are undecided. ConstructUK have compiled a handy monitor on the construction-specific, Brexit related commentaries.
The ONS have released their construction output in Great Britain: March 2016 & Jan to March 2016 figures. Output was estimated to have decreased by 3.6% in March 2016 compared to February 2016 and to have decreased by 1.1% in Q1 2016 compared to Q4 2015 due to downward pressure on Q1 2016 from decreases in both all new work and repair & maintenance.
Commenting on the latest construction output figures, the CPA say that the ONS results are contrary to industry surveys, as many have reported an increase in activity during Q1 2016 compared to the previous quarter. The CPA’s latest Construction Trade Survey backs this with an increase in activity across the supply chain in Q1 2016.
The Markit/CIPS UK Construction PMI shows business activity expanding at its weakest pace since June 2013. The index registered 52.0 in April 2016, marking 3 years of sustained output growth across the construction sector.
The RIBA Future Trends Survey March 2016 shows that Architects’ workloads are showing signs of stability, with private housing and commercial sectors continuing to be the strongest areas of growth. However concerns about economic uncertainty persist.
NHBC revealed that the number of new homes completed in the financial year 2015-2016 was 137,396; Making new home completions for 2015-16 10% higher than the 125,218 achieved in the previous year.
The Nationwide House Price Index reports that in April 2016 house prices increased by 0.2%, with annual house price growth slowing to 4.9%. The Halifax House Price Index reports that in April 2016 house prices decreased by 0.8%, and house prices in the last 3 months (February to April) were 1.5% higher than the preceding 3 months. They also report that annual house price growth eased to 9.2% in April.
The new Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan has a detailed platform on housing. He suggests that clearer planning rules, more support for the boroughs and better control over viability assessments, along with his expert team will help turn the corner on affordability. The new mayor will have his work cut out as his platform contradicts many of the government’s planning and housing policies.
Deloitte have published The London Office Crane Survey for summer 2016 tracking every office scheme under construction across central London. The latest survey shows total volume of office space construction has increased by 28% over the past six months, with 38% of the space currently under construction being scheduled to complete over the next 12 months.