Private houses stem landslide in troubled construction sector

Ben Southwood
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PRIVATE house building gave a vital boost to the construction sector in October, a survey showed today, balancing out flagging demand from other sources.

Construction activity declined one per cent over the month, according to Glenigan’s index, but it would have declined much more, it says, if not for the 58 per cent boost to private housing projects across the country – comparing the last three months to the same period last year.

“Private housing has once again been the sector that stood out from the rest of the industry,” said Glenigan economist Andrew Whiffin, who put the growth down to industry hopes for a return to housing boom in 2013.

This boost to projects has mainly come in the highest return areas in the south east and London, the report says, and could be driven further if the Funding for Lending scheme fulfils on its promise, Whiffin says.

In contrast to the jump in private house building, retail project activity slumped 36 per cent in the three months to October compared to a year earlier. In the same period, new public sector work continued to crash: healthcare building plummeted 32 per cent, education-related activity plunged 30 per cent, and social housing starts slipped six per cent.