Starts in the three months to September were 9% lower than a year ago and 15% down on the previous three month, dragged lower by falls in non-residential and civil engineering work.
- In contrast residential starts were 9% up on a year ago and 4% higher than during the preceding three months.
- Non-residential project starts were18% down on a year ago and 28% lower than during the second quarter of 2016. Office and industrial project starts were especially weak, being 26% and 41% down respectively on a year earlier.
- Civil engineering projects also dampened overall starts, being 31% down on a year ago
The value of work starting on site in the three months to September was 9% down on the same period of a year ago, according to the latest Glenigan Index.
While the overall trend across the UK was one of decline, there were stark differences between regions. The idea of a Northern Powerhouse seems somewhat far-fetched with declines across the North and East of England. With drops of 24%, 39%, 43%, and 50% for the East Midlands, East of England, Yorkshire & Humber, and the North East respectively. In London and the South West project starts were reasonably consistent with last year’s figures with a decline of just 2%, while the South West experienced 12% growth and starts in Scotland were up 8%.
It is important to remember that these figures are from the period immediately following the EU referendum, and as such reflect months of massive economic and political uncertainty. The increase in residential starts is encouraging and must continue if the government are to come even close to their targets on housing. Infrastructure and civils work is expected to increase over the coming months as well given the pledges made at the Tory Party Conference.