Private housing construction rebounds as public sector stalls

The value of residential building projects during the three months to March 2010 was 37% higher than the same period a year ago according to the latest Glenigan Index.
Project starts increased in the private and social housing sectors. “Many projects stalled by the bad weather in January and February have now started. Housebuilder confidence has been boosted by rising house prices and property transactions seen since last summer. This recent improvement is encouraging and gradual strengthening in private residential construction is forecast for the coming months” says Allan Wilen, economics director at Glenigan.

However. the value of non-residential construction project starts in the three months to March 2010 was only 2% lower than the same period a year ago. “An increase in retail, hotel and Olympic related projects has helped offset the continued weakness of the private industrial and commercial sectors and a recent slowing in public sector projects,” Wilen continues.

Civil engineering project starts were down 44% on a year ago. Regionally, the Midlands and Yorkshire & the Humber have seen a rise in overall construction project starts, while the North West, South West and South East of England continued to record double digit falls compared to the first three months of 2009.

Wilen adds: “While private sector projects are forecast to improve over the course of 2010, Government cuts will further restrict the flow of public sector schemes over the medium term. Conditions in the industrial and commercial property markets have moved off the low point reached in the first half of 2009 and project starts in these sectors are forecast to gradually improve in the second half of the year.”

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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