Markit/CIPS data shows ‘robust growth’ from housebuilders, while new work growth is ‘marginal’



Housebuilding activity bounced back from the effects of the ‘Beast from the East’ last month but underlying demand across the industry remained subdued, according to new Markit/CIPS data.

The latest construction purchasing managers’ index pushed into positive territory, recording a score of 52.5, up from March’s 20-month low of 47.0.

Housebuilding returned to normal after March’s bad weather had stalled work on some sites, recording robust growth – the strongest since May last year.

Weather-related improvements were also seen for commercial building and civil engineering activity, which reported a modest return to growth after hefty declines in March.

But total new work rose “only marginally” in April, according to Markit.

And while input cost inflation remained at the 20-month low seen in March delivery times were being put under pressure due to supply chain pressures.

Markit associate director Tim Moore said a rebound in construction activity was “pretty well inevitable” after March’s bad weather.

But a consistent theme so far this year had been fragile demand conditions and subdued volumes of incoming new work, he said.

“Respondents to our survey noted that heightened economic uncertainty continued to hold back construction growth in April, with risk aversion among clients leading to delays with spending decisions on new projects,” Moore added.