Construction continued its downward trend in February, however it remains at a relatively high level and private housing continues to exhibit strong growth.
Construction output fell by 0.8% during the three-month on three-month period to February 2018, representing the fourth consecutive three-month on three-month decline in output.
Following consecutive periods of month-on-month growth in the final two months of 2017, construction output reached a record high. In the first two months of 2018, output has subsequently begun to contract, decreasing by 1.6% in the month-on-month series in February 2018.
Construction output peaked in December 2017, reaching a level that was 30.3% higher than the lowest point of the last five years, April 2013. Despite the month-on-month decrease in February 2018, construction output remains 24.2% above this level.
Office for National Statistics has received some anecdotal information from a small number of survey respondents regarding the effect of the snow on their businesses in the final week of February 2018. Therefore, part of the fall in construction output in February 2018 could potentially be attributed to the adverse weather conditions across Great Britain. However, due to the volatile nature of the industry, it is difficult to quantify the impact on the industry as a whole.
Private housing and infrastructure new work provided the only positive contributions to growth. Following strong growth throughout the majority of 2017 and the first month of 2018, private housing continued to grow in February 2018, increasing by £232 million.
In terms of real volume growth, the only positive contribution again came from new housing. Following a large fall in the previous month, private housing new work increased by £42 million in February 2018, remaining at a relatively high level. Similarly, public housing new work also grew following a decline in the previous month, increasing marginally by £9 million.
Neil Knight, Business Development Director of Spicerhaart Part Exchange & Assisted Move, said, “Today’s ONS figures show that construction output has continued its recent decline, falling by 2.6% in February. However, while infrastructure work and repair and maintenance are all declining, construction of new private housing is continuing to grow. A quarter of all construction work in February was for private new builds, which marked a 1.5% rise on January, and a 7.6% rise on February 2017.
“For the past year or so, you haven’t been able to turn on the TV or read a newspaper without seeing stories about new housing plans – just last week the Government pledged £200m of funding for housing projects in the West of England. Clearly, this focus on new housing is starting to pay dividends, and while we are nowhere near producing the level of new housing we need to keep up with demand, we are moving in the right direction. I just hope that this trend continues.”