The IHS Markit/CIPS UK Construction PMI November 2017 report shows a marginal upturn in construction output for October, led by housing activity. However, confidence regarding a 12-month outlook dropped to its weakest since December 2012. The Index registered 50.8 in October up from 48.1 in September moving back above the 50.0 neutral mark; however this is still weaker than the post-economic crisis trend of 54.7.

The October Economic & Construction Market Review from Barbour ABI shows an increase in construction activity for September as the value of new contracts awarded reached £6.9bn based on a 3-month rolling average. This is a 20.8% increase from August 2017 and a 22.7% increase on the value recorded in September 2016.

The CPA’s Construction Trade Survey for Q3 2017 found that 40% of main building contractors, on balance, reported that construction output rose in the third quarter of 2017 compared with a year ago, driven mainly by increased demand in private housing, repair and maintenance and infrastructure.

In contrast, the ONS have released their Construction Output in Great Britain: September 2017 figures, showing that construction output contracted by 0.9% on a 3 month on 3 month basis in Spetember, but remains at relatively high levels. This decline was mainly due to decreases in both repair and maintenance and all new work falling 1.4% and 0.7% respectively.

The construction material price index for all work increased 5.2% in the year to September 2017 and rose 0.6% on a monthly basis. Construction materials prices for new housing, other work and repair and maintenance rose 5.3%, 5.2% and 5.7%, respectively, in the year to September 2017.

The latest CBI quarterly industrial trends survey reports that growth in manufacturing activity softened in the 3 months to October 2017. The survey also found that optimism about business conditions fell, for the first time in a year. While optimism about export prospects for the year ahead continued to rise, although at a slower pace than the previous quarter.

The Bank of England report that the number of mortgage approvals for house purchases in September 2017 increased 7.1% year-on-year, but decreased 0.4% on a monthly basis. The value of these loans increased 12.4% from a year earlier but decreased 0.3% month-on-month. However, according to HMRC, in September 2017 the number of property transactions in the UK totalled 10,850. This shows a 1.8% decrease from August 2017, but was 4.6% higher compared to a year earlier.

A new report from the Housing Europe Observatory has revealed that in the two years since the previous edition, housing markets across the EU have started to speed up again, with 2016 seeing the highest annual growth rate in house prices since 2009.

ONS and Land Registry figures for August 2017 show that annual UK house prices increased 5.0% compared to July 2017, driven mostly by rises in North West England and the East of England. The lowest annual growth was reported in London for the ninth consecutive month, followed by the North East.

The Halifax House Price Index reports that in October 2017 house prices increased 0.3% compared to September. And annual house prices increased for the 3rd successive month to 4.5% from 4.0% in September. In contrast the Nationwide House Price Index reports that in October 2017 house prices were 0.2% lower than September. And annual house price growth picked up slightly to 2.5%, from a revised 2.3% in September.

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