Rise in private housing activity drives construction starts

Starts in the three months to April were 6% higher than a year ago, according to the latest statistics from Glenigan.

Residential starts were 26% higher than a year ago, with growth driven by a sharp rise in private housing starts. However, non-residential project starts were 7% down on the same period in 2016, as a weakening in office, education and community and amenity work offset growth in industrial and health projects.

Glenigan’s economics director, Allan Wilén, said: “The rise in project starts during the three months to April is encouraging and bodes well for construction activity during the year ahead. The 6% rise in starts is partly due to a bounce back in civils projects in March and April, together with encouraging increases in industrial and health project starts. However, the key driver for growth has been a marked strengthening in private residential projects.”

At a regional level, the north east, north west, south west and West Midlands all enjoyed double digit growth, with project starts during February to April 2017 being 24%, 28%, 34% and 25% up respectively on a year earlier.

There was also more modest growth in the south east, Scotland and Yorkshire and the Humber. The value of project starts slipped back elsewhere.