The ONS released its latest figures on construction output for November 2012. These figures were very gloomy showing that construction output in November was 9.8% lower than the previous year. To reinforce the gloom, the Construction Products Associationreleased its industry forecast for 2013 – 2016, predicting thatconstruction output will fall by 2.2% in 2013. However the positive note of the forecasts is that they expect output to return to growth in 2014. Another positive note is that in December 2012 the ONS released data showing that the turnover of architects and engineers increased by almost £500m in the year leading to October 2012, suggesting they are seeing the first shoots of recovery.

The Nationwide House Price Index reported that in December 2012 the typical price of a house fell by 0.1%, in 2012 overall typical prices declined by 1%. But the Halifax House Price Index reported that in the October to December period house prices were 0.6% higher than in the preceding 3 months, with December house prices up by 1.3%.RICS has released its 2013 housing market forecasts which reports that house prices will rise by 2% this year. On another positive note,Taylor Wimpey have released their trading statement for 2012 announcing that operating profit for the year is up by 40% from 2011, with average selling prices up by 6% and housing volumes up by 7%. While recognising it is too early to judge the market for the year, Taylor Wimpey maintains a positive, although cautious view in the short term.

The government announced that its £125 million cash back scheme for the Green Deal is now up and running. Until now, consumer interest has been low, possibly due to a lack of clear messages. However Competitive Advantage’s new research called Social Housing Energy Efficiency, shows that there is a significant amount of interest in using the Green Deal to upgrade the energy efficiency of social housing.

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