Survey shows housing construction continues to thrive
The UK construction sector seen improved growth off the back of a continued surge in house building activity, a monthly survey has shown.
In their Purchasing Managers Index for November, Markit and the Chartered Institute for Purchasing and Supply (CIPS) recorded an overall reading of 53.1. Any reading above 50 represents growth and after a return to expansion at 50.8 the previous month, the latest reading represented the biggest improvement since June.
The extent to which this relied on house building was stark, with civil engineering falling for the third successive month and commercial construction still declining due to uncertainty over Brexit.
By contrast, the number of homes being built continues to surge upwards. The report stated: "House building projects were again the primary growth engine for construction activity. Survey respondents suggested that resilient demand and a supportive policy backdrop had driven the robust and accelerated upturn in residential work."
CIPS director of customer relationships Duncan Brock noted that house building growth was the best in nearly six months, describing it as the "primary driver" of growth.
Associate director at IHS Markit and co-author of the report Tim Moore noted that, in contrast with other areas of activity, house building has been "helped by strong demand fundamentals and a supportive policy backdrop".
This support has been particularly notable in recent weeks, with chancellor Philip Hammond announcing a £44 billion package of support for a range of initiatives, with the ultimate aim of boosting the annual house building rate to 300,000 a year by the mid-2020s.
Some of this help will be particularly relevant to landlords, as it will include support for build-to-rent.
The Markit/CIPS figures may come as little surprise after the government recently recorded the first total of homes built in England over a 12-month period to exceed 200,000 in nearly a decade.