The value of work starting on site in the three months to February was 1 per cent lower than a year ago, according to the latest data from industry tracker Glenigan
But the fall is mainly attributed to a sharp drop in civil engineering projects, down 44 per cent year on year, while non-residential starts in February were up 13 per cent on the same period last year. Glenigan put this down to a stabilising of investor confidence in the wake of the vote for Brexit.
On a seasonally adjusted basis, overall starts were down 3 per cent on the period between September and November.
In its commentary on the figures Glenigan said: ‘The industrial, office and hotel and leisure sectors all saw a marked improvement in the value of underlying project starts during three months to February. In addition non-residential starts were also boosted by increases in health and community amenity work.’
Residential starts were down 1 per cent. This was despite a ‘marked improvement’ in the social housing sector, which saw the value of project starts during the three months to February rise 17 per cent year on year.
Glenigan said: ‘Looking ahead, higher inflation is set to squeeze household spending and to dampen activity in the wider housing market over the coming year. Against this weaker market background we anticipate a softening in private project starts during the second half of 2017.’
Wales and the north-east of England enjoyed particular growth in project starts in the three months to February, up 65 per cent and 51 per cent respectively on the same period last year. The North West and the east of England saw the biggest slumps, down 20 per cent and 19 per cent respectively. Starts in London were little changed on the previous year.