The ONS have released their Output in the Construction Industry October 2015 and new orders Q3 2015 figures. Output increased by 0.2% in October compared to September 2015, with all new work increasing by 1.2% and repair and maintenance decreasing by 1.5%. New orders were estimated to have increased by 0.8% compared with Q2 2015, but showed no growth when compared with Q3 2014.
Commenting on the latest ONS figures, the Construction Products Association say that the figures clearly highlight contrasting fortunes, with a rise in private housing of 2.3% in October and a sharp fall for public housing. The latest CPA construction forecasts expect total construction output to rise 3.6% in 2015 and 3.8% in 2016. This reflects a downward revision since the summer forecasts due to a slowdown in housing and commercial activity in Q3 2015.
The government published a joint Spending Review and Autumn Statement at the end of last month, with some important points for the construction industry. The government’s plans for housing now include a total of 400,000 new ‘affordable’ homes by 2020, with support for starter homes and shared ownership schemes. Further information has been provided on plans to introduce an Apprenticeship Levy from April 2017, to help fund the creation of 3 million new apprenticeships by 2020. A storify of reactions to the spending review and autumn statement has been created by BIS.
The latest quarterly breakdowns of cumulative sales under the Help to Buy (equity loan) scheme have been released. These figures show that to 30 September 2015 62,569 properties were bought via the scheme. 81% of these sales were to first-time buyers, with an average purchase price of £217,999.
The Markit/CIPS UK Construction PMI registered 55.3 in November, down from 58.8 in October but still well above the neutral value of 50.0. This showed the slowest expansion of business activity for seven months, with output growth at its weakest since mid-2013, except for the pre-election slowdown seen in April this year.
The Nationwide House Price Index reports that in November 2015 house prices increased by 0.1%, with annual house price growth slowing to 3.7% in November 2015 down from 3.9% in October 2015. The Halifax House Price Index reports that in November 2015 house prices decreased by 0.2%, and house prices in the last 3 months (September – November) were 1.4% higher than the preceding 3 months.
The 2015 London Commercial Market Contractors Survey by Aecom, shows that leading contractors are concerned about London’s house price boom beginning to slow and are starting to move away from residential schemes. The survey also found that contractors are being more selective and opting for more low-risk projects due to a continued rise in cost inflation.