Building intelligence: Q4 2018

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Output is slowing as the uncertainty around Brexit continues, especially in the commercial sector, but private and public housing are holding up well

01 / Overview

The first Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimate of GDP for  Q4 of 2018 showed economic growth slowed to 0.2%, quarter-on-quarter. Year-on-year, output increases eased to 1.3%, after a brief pickup over the summer. In 2018 as a whole UK GDP rose by 1.4% year-on-year, the shallowest increase since 2009. The repercussions of the recession and the implications of the Brexit vote mean the pace of growth is set to be well below the long-term trend in 2018-22, averaging 1.5%.

In Q4 construction output rose 1% to £41.26bn (in 2016 prices), against the same period in 2017. Public housing contributed to this with a 2% rise to £1.64bn; it is expected to grow by an annual average of 7% over the next three years. To meet its ambitious housebuilding targets, the government has announced increased funding for social and affordable housing and an intention to remove the local authority borrowing cap; this should help the sector to achieve double-digit expansion by 2021. The sector is one of the least exposed to Brexit.

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