Figures released by the Office of National Statistics show that construction output grew by 1.4% in Q2 2013 after a decline of 1.8% in the previous quarter. The data shows a welcome boost in new housing output but falls in public and commercial sector work.
The seasonally adjusted figures show construction output in Q2 2013 was estimated to be 1.4% higher when compared with Q1 2013. This quarterly rise in output was due to a 5.0% increase in the first month of the quarter followed by two months of contraction.
There were large year-on-year growths in new housing where public and private new housing showed increased growths of 9.8% and 8.2% respectively.
Steve McGuckin, UK managing director of the global construction and project management consultancy, Turner & Townsend, said: “The construction industry isn’t out of the tunnel yet, but at least we can see the light.
“Housing was the star performer in Q2 – stoked in large part by the Help to Buy scheme unveiled in March. Some had questioned whether this would fire demand more than supply – but the data proves that Britain’s housebuilders have heeded the call for new homes, albeit not in the volumes we need.
“But performance in other sectors was more mixed – commercial property output was down both on the previous quarter and on this time last year. However we are seeing increased developer confidence in nearly all UK regions, which is slowly feeding into construction projects.”
Comparing Q2 2013 with the same period a year ago, construction output fell by 0.5% . New work was 1.0% lower with large falls in public other new work and private-commercial other new work, which reported decreases of 12.3% and 8.2% respectively.
Comparing June 2013 with May 2013 construction output showed a fall of 0.7% (See figure 1). All new work increased by 0.3% with a 2.4% decrease in all repair & maintenance. Since 2011 construction output fell by 9.4%
The preliminary estimate of gross domestic product (GDP) for Q2 2013 published on 25 July 2013 contained a nowcast of construction output growth for Q2 2013 of 0.9%. The revision to construction output of 0.5% to 1.4% has no effect on the preliminary estimate of GDP to 1 decimal place.