The ONS has released its figures for Output in the Construction Industry January 2014 and New Orders Q4 2013. These figures show that the estimate of construction output in January 2014 has risen by 1.8% compared to December 2013; this increase includes a rise of 0.8% in new work and a larger rise of 3.5% in repair and maintenance.

These ONS figures also show that new orders in construction for Q4 2013 were 1.5% higher than Q3 2013. The figures are led by double digit growth in both public non-housing and private industrial, and a 7.2% increase in private new housing supported by the Help to Buy scheme.

Government figures show that in the first 11 months of the Help to Buy scheme up to February 2014, there were 16,465 homes bought through Help to Buy. The scheme has now been extended to 2020, just one of the announcements made in the 2014 budget that support construction.

This optimistic outlook is also reflected by positive reports from MPIM and also the March Markit/CIPS Construction Managers Purchasing Index, which remains almost unchanged from February, showing a fall to 62.5 compared to February’s 62.6.The index shows that housing was the best performing construction category for March. It also reports that construction firms are showing the highest level of confidence about the next 12 months since January 2007, reflected by an increase in staffing levels.

The Nationwide House Price Index has reported that house prices increased by 0.4% in March 2014 making them 9.5% higher than March 2013, although still 3.0% below the peak in 2007. But the Halifax House Price Index reported a fall in house prices of 1.1% in the month of March 2014.

At the CIMCIG Chairman’s debate last month most agreed that the recovery we are seeing is sustainable but all agreed that more can be done by government, associations and industry to drive the recovery on.

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