Heavy material sales slide on housing slow-up

Heavy side building material producers have reported falling sales due to a slow-up in project starts for a second quarter.

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That’s according to the latest Construction Products Association’s State of Trade Survey for the last quarter of 2022, which found that, conversely, light side product sales have held up supported partly by energy-efficiency retrofit work, and more fully by their later use in the building cycle.

Some 20% of heavy side manufacturers saw sales decline, while 27% of light side manufacturers reported that product sales rose, extending the run of growth to 10 straight quarters.

Other key survey findings include:

  • One-third of heavy side manufacturers anticipated a decrease in sales over the next 12 months; 8% of light side firms anticipated a rise in sales
  • Fuel, energy and raw materials costs rose for all heavy side manufacturers
  • Overall costs are expected to increase over the next year according to balances of 69% on the heavy side and 62% on the light side, the lowest balances since mid-2020

Mixed fortunes are also reflected in the outlook for the year ahead where one-third of heavy side firms anticipated a decrease in sales over the next 12 months. On the light side, a balance of 8% of firms anticipated a rise in sales during 2023.

Rebecca Larkin, CPA Head of Construction Research, said that the Q4 survey highlighted the varied demand within construction sector but added to the signs pointing to a slowdown in activity across new build or sectors that were driven by consumer or business confidence, which would be partially offset by higher levels of activity on commercial refurbishment and energy efficiency improvements.

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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