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Public housing orders drop 20 per cent

The number of public housing construction orders tumbled 20 per cent in the first quarter of 2011 compared with the previous three months, official figures have shown

Public housing orders were also down 17 per cent from the same time last year, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The volume of private housing orders dropped by 13 per cent in the first quarter of 2011, but rose by 16 per cent compared with the same period in 2010.

Total orders fell by 18 per cent compared with a year ago, and all sectors showed a negative growth in new orders during the first quarter, the ONS said.

RICS chief economist Simon Rubinsohn said the figures pointed to a bleak outlook for the construction sector.

He said: ‘The volume of orders received was the lowest since the first quarter of 2009 and, though the public sector was responsible for much of the decline compared with the final three months of last year, the private sector also produced disappointing results.’

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