Construction output falls 4.8% year-on-year, but is running 2.2% higher quarter-on-quarter with housing sector diving improvement


Construction output fell nearly 5% in May compared to the previous year, but is running 2.2% higher quarter-on-quarter, the latest Office for National Statistics data has shown.

The ONS said he total volume of construction output was 4.8% lower in May than in May 2012.

When comparing the three months to May 2013, output was also down 4.8% on the same period last year.

The ONS said this was driven down by a large falls in public sector work (-18.1%) and commercial work (10.1%).

There was also a 5.6% fall in housing repair and maintenance when comparing the three months to May to the same period the previous year.

Infrastructure work rose 6.2% in the three months to May, compared to the same period last year.

The ONS said there was zero growth in output between April and May, with a small increase in all new work of 0.3% negated by a decline in repair & maintenance output of 0.5%.

However, Simon Rubinsohn, RICS chief economist, said that if output in June matched May’s level, than output over the second quarter would be 2.2% above levels in the first quarter.

He said: “Output during the second quarter is running 2.2% percent above the level recorded in the first three months of 2013.

“If maintained, this will represent the biggest quarterly gain since the autumn of 2010.

“The key driver of the improving trend in construction this year has been the housing sector.

“Interestingly, today’s data suggests that there may have been a pick-up in public sector developments alongside the more widely recognised increase in private sector home starts.

“The only other area of new build to show any material growth is infrastructure.”