Economists say data is too sketchy to produce predictions until next February

The Construction Products Association has said it won’t be able to produce a reliable forecast for the industry until next February because of uncertainty around Brexit.

The group puts out its predictions for the coming months every quarter and its latest set of data had been due to be released in the middle of last month.

But senior economist Rebecca Larkin said the data produced in the months before the referendum was redundant and not enough had been produced since June 23 for it to be able to make reliable forecasts. “All we’ve seen is sentiment at the moment,” she said.

And she added that what data had been produced was too hit and miss. “We wouldn’t base any comment on one or two points. We want to see through the volatility. Until we start seeing hard data we can’t make a bona fide forecast.”

Instead, the CPA is putting out a series of scenarios based on what it thinks might happen in the next few months.

Larkin said it was likely that its next proper forecast would be its winter edition which is due to be published in early February.

Meanwhile, the latest data the NHBC shows that amount of housing starts begun between May and July in England this year fell 15% to 32,334 compared to the same period last year.

Starts in Greater London nosedived from 9,321 to just 3,554 – a fall of 62%.

But starts in a number of regions, including East Midlands, Yorkshire & Humber, South-west and North-east, were all up.