Total orders down 20% as housing slump partly offset by 37% rise in public work

The value of private housing construction orders slumped by more than half in the third quarter of the year, as construction tenders overall fell by one-fifth.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics said that new construction orders fell by 19% in the three months to the end of September on the same period a year ago. It also said that orders were down 11% on the second quarter.

Worst hit was the private housing market, with orders down 53% on the same quarter in 2007, and down exactly one-third on the second quarter this year, with just £860m of business done.

However, the social housing market held up much better, with the value of orders unchanged from the same three months last year.

The depth of the housing slump was also offset by increasing public non-housing business, with orders up 37% on the same quarter in 2007 to £1.6bn.

Overall construction orders in the 12 months to September were down 10% on the previous year.

The news comes as Galliford Try this morning issued a profit warning, and follows a week of grim results, with Redrow and Bovis Homes all citing the toughest trading conditions for many years.