The ONS have released their Output in the Construction Industry figures for January 2015 and new orders Q4 2014. These show that in January 2015 output in the construction industry decreased by 2.6% compared with December 2014, and compared with January 2014 output decreased by 3.1%, making this the first year-on-year decrease since May 2013. New orders for Q4 2014 were estimated to have decreased by 2.9% when compared with Q3 2014, with the largest decreases being reported in public new housing, private commercial and private new housing. Private industrial was the only sector to show an increase in new work.

In contrast the Construction Products Association’s latest Construction Trade Survey for Q4 2014 shows that construction activity rose for the 7th consecutive quarter to Q4 2014, and that many of the firms across all sectors in construction reported output growth in Q4, with further growth expected in 2015. However there are still concerns of a skill shortage with 70% of building contractors reported difficulties recruiting bricklayers in Q4 2014 compared with 41% in Q3.

According to the latest CBI Industrial Trend Survey, activity in the manufacturing sector picked up pace in February 2015, with growth in output volumes rising to their highest level in 7 months, and 16 of the 18 sectors anticipating growth in the coming quarter.

The Markit/CIPS Construction Purchasing Managers Index shows the fastest rise in new orders since October 2014, indicating acceleration in output growth during February 2015. The PMI index registered 60.1 for February 2015 which is up from 59.1 in January 2015, and above the neutral mark of 50.0 for the 22nd consecutive month. This increase is driven by a sharp expansion of construction output, the fastest since October 2014.

The Nationwide House Price Index reports that in February 2015 house prices fell by 0.1%, with annual house price growth slowing to 5.7% from 6.8% in January 2015. The Halifax House Price Index reports that in February 2015 house prices fell by 0.3% compared to January 2015, which partly offsets the 1.9% rise in January 2015.

The average price of sold houses in England and Wales has more than doubled since 1995. An infographic from the ONS explores who truly holds the monopoly on house prices. And their interactive map provides plenty of interesting  facts plenty more interesting facts in the new house price statistics for small areas.

A pre-election special was recently held at the Constructing Excellence Club. Presentations where given by Noble Francis from the Construction Products Association and Abdul Choudhury of RICS Policy Team. In this Storify of the event some interesting comments are made about the housing sector. The Construction Industry Council have issued an election briefing: Constructing a Better Future where they stress the importance of construction as an enabler to spreading jobs and prosperity throughout the wider economy.

The HBF estimate over 100,000 extra new jobs have been created by growing UK house building over the past two years.  Alongside this more than 15,000 new building companies were set up last year, according to credit-monitoring group Creditsafe. This is due to economic recovery driving growth and productivity.

UK paving and residential flooring supplier Marshalls plc, are certainly benefiting from the recovery of construction as they announce their preliminary results for the year ending 31st December 2014. The results show revenue growth increasing by 17% going from £307.4m in 2013 to £358.5m in 2014. The results also show an increase in pre-tax profit of 72% to £22.4m in 2014, up from £13.0m in 2013, reflecting strong orders from rail and housing projects.

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