Business

UK construction output seen steady

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The UK’s construction industry hasn’t gotten off to the greatest of starts in 2018. And, construction professionals are expecting the pace of construction output to be unchanged over the whole of 2018. The Construction Products Association’s (CPA) Spring 2018 forecast anticipate no growth for the sector over the course of the year.

Although looking ahead, the industry is forecast to expand by 2.7% in 2019 and 1.9% in 2020. And, while the construction industry as a whole may not fare too well this year, the private housing and infrastructure sub-sectors should help support the broader division.

“Construction is an important part of the UK’s economic output so these latest forecasts aren’t great news, particularly coming when it’s likely Brexit could put a dampener on output in 2018 too,” said Knightsbridge estate agent, Plaza Estates. “However, that the private housing construction sector is in for another bright year is some comfort, at least.”

Help to Buy to underpin demand for homes

The CPA said it anticipates housing demand will be supported by the Government’s Help to Buy Scheme that’s set to run until March 2021. Indeed, the industry body expects a 5% increase in the pace of private house construction during 2018.

It also anticipates private housing starts to rise by some 2% in 2018 and 2019 as the industry continues to accelerate its pace of output in the face of the ongoing housing shortage. And that’s despite the poor start to the year following the collapse of Carillion and the heavy snow that delayed numerous projects along with the manufacture and delivery of some construction materials.

In addition, although the CPA currently expects a flat output performance for the broader UK construction sector in 2018, if it can make up some of the ground lost in the first three months of the year, there is a chance that could change.

“Industry forecasts are a helpful guide to what might happen but they aren’t a perfect or exact detail and that means forecast are subject to change as time goes on and actual activity can be recorded,” said Best Gapp.

Build-to-Rent construction on the rise

Separately, construction in the UK’s build-to-rent sector is booming with some 117,893 of the homes either completed, under construction or being planned, across the UK.

Figures from the British Property Federation show the build-to-rent sector has grown by 30% in just 12 months, a trend that should help to underpin residential housing construction activity as well as provide more much needed homes for the UK’s population.

The Build-to-Rent sector is something that, if it gets the investment required and specialist firms continue to choose the best, strategic areas for the projects, could play a big part in answering the UK’s housing crisis. It will also help provide quality, well-considered housing options for the growing private rental sector.

“As the prospect of owning a home becomes less important to some Britons more and better-thought rental options for future households will be a welcome addition to the diversity of the UK’s housing provision,” said M&M Property. “In addition, building more homes for rent should also help to free up homes currently rented out by accidental landlords and potentially help limit the pace of house price growth, helping to make that first rung of the housing ladder more achievable for those who still harbour ambitions of being a home owner.”

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