Construction output rises at slowest pace for five months

MarkitConstruction output rose at its slowest rate in five months in October as residential work growth eased off, according to the latest Markit/CIPS UK Construction PMI index.

Office and retail building has taken over as the main driver of construction growth from housing.

Buyers still remain in optimistic mood about activity with the PMI Index remaining high at 61.4 but slightly down from 64.2 in September.

Tim Moore, senior economist at Markit, said: “October’s survey provides the first indication that the chill winds blowing across the UK housing market have started to weigh on the booming residential building sector.

“House building activity still increased at a strong pace overall, but the sharp growth slowdown since this summer reflects greater caution towards new development projects amid tighter mortgage lending conditions and renewed uncertainties about the demand outlook.

“Despite signs that the house building recovery has lost some intensity, UK construction companies remain highly upbeat about their overall prospects for growth .

“Survey respondents cited a broad-based improvement in domestic economic conditions and rising investment spending patterns as key factors likely to support construction output over the year ahead.”

David Noble, group chief executive officer at the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply, added: “This month the construction sector maintained an impressive growth trajectory and true grit with continuing strong levels of new business, albeit at a slower pace.

“Though it appears that the euphoria of the last few months is now settling down to a slightly more modest level of expansion, delivery times continue to lengthen and suppliers of raw materials are in high demand, making the completion of construction projects more challenging and showing how the number of available suppliers has not yet reached pre-recession levels.

“The commercial sub-sector is this month’s star performer as residential housing expansion weakens.

“Although employment growth took a marginal dip this month in the construction sector, subcontractors were able to make up the shortfall, with greater demand for their expertise helping to push up salary rates at a near-survey record pace.”

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