The ONS released its Output in the Construction Industry figures for March and Q1 2013 earlier this month, these figures show that the total volume of construction output was down 2.4% in Q1 2013 compared to Q4 2012, its lowest level since Q4 1988. This poor performance also held back GDP, with preliminary estimates for Q1 2013 up 0.3% for the economy as a whole. Although construction performed badly, partly due to poor weather, the housing sector is starting to show signs of recovery with starts up 7% in Q1 helped by the various government initiatives. However this recovery is taking place mainly in the South East. The CPA forecasts that this year onwards will see steady growth in housing (from a very low base).
The Nationwide House price Index has reported that there was very little change in average house prices during April with a 0.1% decrease, which brings house prices to just 0.9% above April 2012. The Halifax House Price Index shows that in April 2013 house prices increase by 1.1%, following a rise of just 0.4% in March, house prices in the 3 months to April were 2.0% higher than in the same 3 months a year earlier. With the housing market showing mild signs of recovery Crest Nicolson have announced a 9% increase in housing completions in the 6 months to April compared to the same period in 2012. However it is not all good news as Balfour Beatty have announced a 23% drop in construction revenue so far this year.
The Education Funding Agency announced that it is to raise £1.75 billion for privately financed schools work, through a PF2 funding model. However the EFA have also said that it will take 15 months for the funds to reach financial close, meanwhile £700m of capital funded development has been announced for work on 78 schools.