The ONS have released their Output in the Construction Industry figures for December and Q4 2014. These show that output was estimated to have increased by 0.4% in December 2014 when compared with November 2014. Output in December 2014 increased by 5.5% when compared with December 2013, making it the 19th monthly period of year-on-year growth. When comparing Q4 2014 to Q3 2014 the figures show an estimated decrease in output by 2.1%, however when comparing output in Q4 2014 to Q4 2013 there was an increase of 4.8%, making this the 6th period of annual quarter-on-quarter growth.
The Construction Products Association Construction Industry Forecasts for winter 2014-15 show that construction output is forecast to increase by 5.8% in 2015 and 17.8% by 2017. However growth rates are expected to slow in the medium term, due to the general election in May and the uncertainty surrounding this; as well as capacity constraints of the industry.
The Markit/CIPS UK Construction Purchasing Managers Index shows a positive start to the year for construction growth, with output and new business growth bouncing back from the lows seen in December 2014. The index shows an increase to 59.1 in January 2015 from 57.6 in December 2014, making this the 21st month running that the index has registered above the neutral value of 50.0. However this is the second lowest the index has been seen at since September 2013.
The CITB have also released their latest industry forecast, the Construction Skills Network Report. This report predicts an increase of over 8,000 jobs per year on last year’s forecast, with the annual demand for workers increasing to 44,690.
According to the RICS UK Residential Market Survey for January 2015 British house prices rose at their slowest annual pace since May 2013 and fell for the fifth consecutive month in London. The survey also suggests that political uncertainty ahead of the national election is crimping demand.
Knight Frank has created the Pre-Manifesto Matrix. The matrix provides a round-up of the pledges from each political party with regards to housing.
A new report by MTW Research shows the timber frame market saw profit growth of 0.5% in 2014. The report forecasts sales growth of 20% by 2019, this despite the housing market reporting a slowing in house prices.
The Nationwide House Price Index reports that in January 2015 house prices rose by 0.3%. Yet they also report this is the 6th consecutive month annual house prices have slowed. The Halifax House Price Index reports that in January 2015 house prices increased by 2.0% compared to December 2014, making this the biggest January monthly increase since 2009.
With house prices slowing some house builders are broadening their horizons by building schools, to take advantage of the market need for school places over the next few years. This is explained in further detail, with the political reasons behind the move in the latest Ecobuild blog.
Redrow Plc has released their interim results for the 6 months to 31st December 2014, showing a record half year pre-tax profit of £91.2m, which is an increase of 92%.
Skanska UK have reported a rise in operating profit of 6.0%, bringing the figure up to £40.1m in 2014. This is mainly attributed to Skanska having a robust pipeline of work, with new orders totalling £1.679bn.