The Construction Products Association has warned that the anticipated slowdown in construction next year will be greater than expected, as the impact of the credit crunch worsens.

The CPA, which has forecast 3.1% growth for this year, said in the summer that the industry would grow 1.8% in 2008 as the 10-year construction boom drew to a close. However, Michael Ankers, chief executive of the CPA, said this week that it was now likely that the figure would be even lower.

He said the effects of the credit crunch had begun to show up in the housing, refurbishment and commercial sectors, although he was not curretly expecting a major reversal of trends.

He said: “We always anticipated the economy would be slower next year but because of the uncertainties it is likely to be greater than that. We are detecting that, in the short term at least, people are holding back.”

Ankers’ comments, the first signs of caution from the materials sector, come amid increasing concern among housebuilders. Mark Clare, chief executive of Barratt, said customers were adopting a “wait and see attitude” as he revealed a 14% slump in sales this autumn.

In a trading statement to the stock exchange on Monday, Clare said the housebuilder was trading satisfactorily but said next year would be “challenging”.

Hard times are a-coming. We just hope it is a soft landing

John Callcutt

Clare said Barratt would reduce its exposure to the buy-to-let market.

John Callcutt, head of the government-commissioned review of housing delivery that was published yesterday, also said the housing market was in for “hard times” over the next year.

Callcutt, former chief executive of housebuilder Crest Nicholson and government regeneration agency English Partnerships, said housebuilders would “at the very least face a slowdown”.

He said: “Hard times are a-coming. There is recession coming in from the States, credit is become incredibly difficult to come by and the price of investment mortgages has gone up. We just hope it’s a soft landing.”