UK construction output wasn't as bad as expected last month

Emma Haslett
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Cranes next to a half-built apartment block in London against a blue sky
Construction output wasn't exactly booming - but it wasn't as bad as expected, either (Source: Getty)

The UK's construction sector has been in pretty dire straits in recent months - but it turns out in the month immediately following the Brexit vote, things began to look up.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics suggested today that construction output stayed flat between June and July - against expectations of a 0.5 per cent drop.

Meanwhile, new work increased 0.5 per cent - although repair and maintenance fell 1.1 per cent.

The year-on-year figure was rather less encouraging, falling 1.5 per cent - although that was against expectations of a 3.4 per cent drop. Swings and (half-built) roundabouts.

The figure it paints is a broadly similar picture to Markit's purchasing managers' index (PMI), which last week showed the decline of the UK construction industry slowed in August.

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But Andrew Bridges, managing director at Stirling Ackroyd, pointed out that the sector is still suffering.

"We’re not out of the woods yet. Despite the positive consumer data we’ve seen in the weeks and months since Brexit, it’s clear that construction output and housebuilding is flat-lining.

"The Bank of England’s decision to halve interest rates has helped to balance the ship in the very short term, but it is still too early to say what the longer-term impact of June’s referendum will be on housebuilders, the property market and the wider economy."