Building sites start to buzz again as construction projects continue to pick up

Housebuilding in the South East is continuing to rebound, with chartered surveyors across the region reporting growth accoring to the results of the latest RICS construction market survey.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 22nd October 2013, 12:20 am

During the third quarter of the year, a net balance of 50 per cent more respondents reported rises in privately-funded housing projects.

Furthermore, on a national level, this is also the first time that every part of the country has reported growth since the beginning of the market crash six years ago, demonstrating that the long-awaited upturn in numbers of new homes may finally be underway.

Additionally, the overall construction sector in the region saw a welcome boost during the three months to September, with workloads continuing their steady rise (net balance +38 per cent).

Alongside housebuilding, this growth was largely driven by private commercial developments as funding finally begins to filter through to actual shovels in the ground.

This will prove welcome news to an economy that has seen construction struggle considerably for some time.

As the summer drew to a close, there was also good news for the South East’s employment prospects with a net balance of +58 per cent expecting more jobs to be created in the sector over the next 12 months.

Worryingly, however, this improving picture for employment is already being reflected in a jump in reported skill shortages, highlighting the potential for capacity issues if the recovery continues to gather pace.

Significantly, the region’s surveyors are expecting a sharp acceleration in business activity during the next twelve months.

A net balance of 84 per cent of respondents see the volume of work picking up speed. This optimism was also reflected in positive predictions for company profits as the sector begins to dig its way out of the downturn.

RICS chief economist Simon Rubinsohn said: “While it’s certainly good news that construction – and especially housebuilding – is finally on the rise right across the UK, we are certainly not out of the woods yet.

“Critically, we’re still way behind in terms of building enough homes to meet the nation’s growing housing need and overall construction projects are at a historical low.

“In the face of this challenge, it is a particularly concerning that we are already receiving reports of some skill shortages as well as capacity constraints for some building materials such as bricks.”