Commercial and infrastructure increased but amount of private housing work fell sharply in April, official figures show

Construction output fell in April after two successive months of growth, figures from the Office of National Statistics published today show.

Output slipped by 0.6% in April compared to the previous month with new work volumes sinking by 1% a fall which failed to be offset by a small increase of 0.1% in repair and maintenance work.

The ONS said the main contributor to the fall was a drop off in private housing output. Private housing repairs and maintenance decreased by 5.7% (£149m) while new private housing decreased by 3% (£99m). Public new housing fell by 3.6% although public repairs and maintenance was 3.4% up.


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Overall construction output in April was down on the previous month

The figures are likely to fuel further concern about the slowdown in the housing market, after falling house prices, mortgage lending and home purchases were reported in the past few days.

Clive Docwra, managing director of property and construction consultancy McBains, said: “After last month’s figures fuelled hopes of green shoots of recovery, today’s statistics will come as a blow to the construction sector.

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“Particularly disappointing was that the fall was as a result of a decrease in new work, suggesting that confidence remains low among many big investors.

“It’s little surprise that private housing continues to struggle and, with falling house prices and low mortgage approval rates, it will take some months before volume housebuilding shows a turnaround.”

The figures showed a 3.6% monthly increase in infrastructure work, while commercial increased 1.3%.

Output did increase 1.6% in the three months to April 2023 compared to the previous three months, with the increase almost solely through a rise in repair and maintenance work.