The public housing market is set for a two-year boom fuelled by government support for local authority housing schemes, says the Construction Products Association.

The CPA’s annual forecast predicts that new-build social housing will grow 7% this year and 9% in 2001. It also forecasts a 5% increase in repair and maintenance work for social housing in 2000, followed by a 10% increase next year.

Overall construction output is set to grow more steadily. The report says output will rise 2.5% this year and 3% in 2001.

Demand for repair and maintenance work will be stronger than new build, with output set to grow 2.5% this year and 4% next, compared with 2% each year for new build.

The booming commercial sector, which grew 13.5% last year, is expected to slow down. The CPA forecasts growth of 5% this year. Industrial work will also suffer, shrinking 10% as the manufacturing industry draws in its horns. Demand will remain static in 2001.

Infrastructure work will also start to pick up in 2001, helped by the Channel Tunnel Rail Link project. The CPA forecasts a 1.5% drop in activity this year but strong growth of 5% next year.