Last quarter, 10 percent more surveyors across the country reported rising workloads in the construction sector than at any other time since the end of 2007, the latest RICS survey has reported.
One of the main drives behind this was the boost in private housing construction. While still historically low, the boost in housebuilding would suggest that some of the government initiatives are quietly beginning to breathe life back into parts of the nation’s property sector.
Regional differences were once again apparent across the country. While London, the South East and the Midlands saw increases in construction, Northern Ireland and Scotland saw workloads slip. In these parts of the UK, the sector appears to remain particularly depressed and the picture shows no immediate signs of improving.
Looking ahead, surveyors expect the generally more positive trend to continue. A net balance of 27 percent more respondents expect workloads to rise over the coming 12 months.
The increase in construction projects and the expectation of further gains, however limited, resulted in a welcome rise in job expectations. 22 percent more chartered surveyors anticipate employment levels rising over the coming year but the profit outlook is projected to remain depressed.
Simon Rubinsohn, RICS chief economist, commented: “Although it’s far too early to start talking about a recovery in the construction sector, the rise in output at the beginning of the year is a little better news. The Government’s attempts to stimulate the market seem now to be having some impact but there are still significant challenges to be overcome. In particular, the availability of finance- and planning-related issues continues to present obstacles to development.”