Builders Merchant Building Index May report shows sales are down

The May Builders Merchant Building Index report shows builders’ merchants’ value sales down by 6% compared to the same month in 2022.

The report found that eight of the 12 categories sold more this year than in May 2022. Renewables and water saving was up by 41.8%, decorating was up by 10.2%, workwear and safetywear was also up by 5.9%.

BMBI May 2023 Highlights Infographic MASTER

Mike Rigby, CEO of MRA Research who produce the report, said: “Britain celebrated the King’s Coronation in May 2023, but there was no cause for celebration in the construction industry this month for the steepest drop in house building activity since April 2009, with the exception of the disruption in the first couple of months of lockdown in 2020.

“The latest BMBI figures reflect the impact this slowdown is having further up the supply chain with falling sales volumes. Forecasts of a jump in monthly mortgage repayments of £500 for around one million households by the end of 2026 is not likely to kickstart the housing market any time soon either.”

The report found that volume sales were up 14.1% while prices decreased slightly by 1.5%. All categories sold more with Landscaping up by 18.6%. Heavy building materials up by 13.3%, workwear and safetywear was up by 11.3% and decorating was up by 10.7%.

“But there is cause for optimism. While the cost-of-living crisis continues, inflation appears to be easing and there is growing resilience in the market. Consumer confidence has been recovering according to GFK’s Consumer Confidence Index, with an uptick of three points recorded in both May and June. That is still a negative -24 but 12 months ago it was -41,” said Rigby.

Total merchant sales in the twelve months from June 2022 to May 2023 were down by 0.3% compared to the same period a year ago, with volumes down 13.6% and price inflation increase of 15.4%. Ten of the twelve categories sold more with renewables and water saving increased by 41%, workwear and safetywear 14.3%, plumbing, heating and electrical increased by 12.2% and decorating increased by 11.6%.

However, total merchant sales of landscaping, down by 10.4%, and timber and joinery products, decreased by 13.6%.

Rigby added: “As ever, parts of the market are thriving despite the tough conditions. Homeowners without mortgages and with savings are still spending on repairs, maintenance and improvements, and builders and trades who serve them are booked well into the future.”

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