Construction industry got off to a flyer in 2017, says report

UK construction activity was up at the start of 2017, according to the latest Economic & Construction Market Review from analysts Barbour ABI.

New building contracts awarded in January 2017 reached £6 billion, buoyed by housebuilding. Housing figures rose across January with construction contract value reaching £2.7 billion, up a whopping 83% on January 2016.

Private housing dominated in the first month of the year and London led all regions based on total contract value in January.

Michael Dall, lead economist at Barbour ABI, said: “Whilst the housebuilding sector is performing admirably, we expect to see its growth continue to flourish across 2017. However, other sectors now need to start producing more auspicious figures, such as the commercial & retail sector, which saw a year-on-year decrease of 40 per cent last month. Infrastructure, another traditionally big performing sector, is also in a slump with January figures being the lowest for 12 months.”

“On the positive side, the number of projects awarded in January jumped by 50 per cent compared with December and 25 per cent when looking at January last year. These figures are encouraging and would suggest that work is most certainly on the way.”

However, the latest Markit/CIPS UK Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index Survey had a less positive spin on the construction industry, claiming that there were signs of a slowdown in 2017.

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