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Germany hit hardest as construction falls across Europe

European Union construction output has plunged again, according to official figures

Data from EU statistical office Eurostat revealed that seasonally adjusted production was 3.7 per cent lower in February 2012 than in the previous month.

This followed a revised 3.9 per cent fall in January as the Union struggles to recover from the financial crisis of the past few years.

In the euro zone, the fall was even sharper in February at 7.1 per cent.

Germany suffered the greatest loss of output with a 17.1 per cent reduction. The UK made the biggest gain with a 5.1 per cent increase.

Building construction output dropped by 2.9 per cent in the EU as a whole in February, while civils production was down 10.1 per cent.

Construction output was down 9.4 per cent year-on-year in February 2012.

Job losses will continue limiting end user demand for homes and commercial space

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors said its outlook for the euro zone remained negative.

‘Even if we assume the spill over effects on the real economy from last year’s financial turmoil are set to fade, this will still take time,’ it warned in a statement.

‘Meanwhile, as the economy struggles to gain traction – made tougher by fiscal consolidation – job losses will continue, limiting end user demand for construction output such as homes and commercial space.’

The sudden loss of output in Germany will surprise many architects.

Germany’s construction production rose 4.7 per cent in January and all the signs were pointing to a strong year for the country’s built environment sector.

A poll by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) earlier this year found that Germany was the only European country expecting an improvement in the value of commercial property in the first quarter of 2012.

However, the Quarter Four (Q4) 2011 Architectural Barometer by market research body Arch-Vision showed that German architects’ combined turnovers and order books were up on the previous quarter while those in many other nations fell.

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