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Construction market showing signs of recovery

Activity in the construction market has started to pick up since the start of 2013, with new projects beginning to increase, according to the latest RICS construction market survey.
Since the start of the downturn in 2007, the amount of construction taking place across the country has fallen considerably and the sector has suffered substantially as a result.

During the second quarter of this year a net balance of 21% more surveyors reported an increase in their workloads. This is the most positive reading in over six years. Although, in general, falling activity has meant that projects are still thin on the ground, RICS says this upturn may suggest that the worst could now be over for the sector.

According to the survey, 59% more respondents predict that workloads will now continue to rise rather than fall. With every pound spent on construction in the UK generating almost three pounds of wider economic growth, this will undoubtedly be seen as good news for UK PLC.

Nationwide, the biggest increase in activity was in London, the South East and the Midlands. Northern Ireland registered the lowest reading (net balance -4%), but this still represents a considerable improvement on recent years.

Both profits and employment prospects in the construction sector registered a positive net balance reading of 34%. RICS says this is the most optimistic the sector has been for a number of years and the industry will be hoping that this is the start of the long awaited recovery.

Simon Rubinsohn, RICS chief economist, said: 'It is clearly good news that the amount of construction taking place across the country seems to have turned a corner. But this modest improvement comes after a long period of contraction and many businesses in the sector are still struggling to keep their heads above water.

He continued: 'Securing finance for development is still a big challenge and, despite the government's attempt to revamp the planning system, the feedback we are getting suggests that this issue also remains a major obstacle to getting projects under way.'

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23 July 2013


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