City builders set to bounce back in 2013

 
Kasmira Jefford
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LONDON’S construction sector will continue to face tough conditions this year but is expected to return to steady growth from 2013 as building projects such as the Crossrail and Land Securities’ Walkie Talkie gather momentum.

Greater London will see an expansion rate of 2.5 per cent per year over the five years to 2016 – significantly higher than the UK average of 1.4 per cent, according to CITB-Constructionskills, the training body.

The commercial sector is expected to be one of the top performers, with output rising by around 5.7 per cent per year, driven by ongoing schemes including Crossrail, Thameslink and the upgrade of London Bridge station.

The strongest short term growth is forecast for the private housing sector, with average growth of 8.7 per cent, helped by overseas buyers flocking in at the higher end of the market. Output is expected to be 65 per cent higher in 2016 than its previous peak in 2007.

Constructionskills’ annual report said that while forecasts for 2016 offer a glimmer of hope, the number of jobs in the sector is expected to drop by 1.4 per cent this year.

“There is a real danger that the industry will not have the skills it needs to complete major projects in the longer term,” said Sara Pearce, the firm’s sector strategy manager.

The report said growth in UK construction sector would remain “slow and uneven”, yet output is due to bounce back by four per cent in 2013.

FAST FACTS: LONDON PROPERTY

• Commercial sector output expected to rise by 5.7 per cent per year until 2016.
• Private housing sector output set to grow 8.7 per cent per year by 2016.