New data from IHS Markit shows slight growth in the construction sector in April thanks to house building – and the first rise since January.
April data pointed to a marginal expansion of UK construction sector output, driven by the fastest rise in house building so far in 2019. Commercial work and civil engineering activity continued to decline, but at slower rates than in March.
The new data is promising in contrast to a slight decline in output in recent months. Respondents to the IHS Markit survey commented on a steady supply of buyers and resilient demand conditions.
Tim Moore, Associate Director at IHS Markit, said: “A return to growth would normally be considered a positive month for the UK construction sector, but the weakness outside of house building gives more than a little pause for thought. Commercial activity and civil engineering both remained on a downward path in April as political uncertainty led to delays with spending decisions.”
“Residential work retained its position as the sole driver of growth across the three main segments of construction activity. Survey respondents once again noted that residential projects were buoyed by strong demand for new homes, low mortgages rates and firsttime buyer incentives.”
Commercial work was the weakest area of construction output in April, which continued the trend seen during the first quarter of 2019. Respondents pointed to Brexit as a contributing factor as well as delays in client spending decisions.
Civil engineering activity also decreased in April, although the rate of contraction was only marginal. Some firms commented on a lack of new work to replace completed infrastructure projects as well as Brexit uncertainty.
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