Glenigan: Housebuilding starts tumble 16%

Posted on Friday, March 22, 2024





Housebuilding starts fell 16% in the three months to February, despite an overall rise in planning approvals across the construction sector. 

New residential work stood 19% lower than a year ago, according to Glenigan’s latest Construction Review, due to “persistent adverse socioeconomic conditions”.   

Private housing was down 11% on the previous year, declining 17% against the prior quarter.  

Social housing also performed poorly, with work commencing on-site slipping back 31% during the three months to February and plummeting 30% against the previous year’s figures.   

But overall, detailed planning approvals – including commercial and civil engineering activity — were 5% up against the previous year, despite being down 24% during the three months to February, says the construction data firm. 

Glenigan economic director Allan Wilen says: “Persistent adverse socioeconomic conditions continue to hold back significant spending in both the public and private sectors.  

“However, a rise in underlying infrastructure starts during the last three months and a modest uptick in planning approvals compared to last year indicates the current situation may slightly ease during the second half of the year. 

Wilen adds: “While Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s Spring Budget commitment to targeted funding for 15 new special free schools and for new children’s homes will open up work for the sector, the government has been cautious about making any big infrastructure commitments during the run-up to the next general election.  

“This will affect the delivery of existing and planned major capital projects and the lack of clarity may have a knock-on effect across the construction sector, with private investors likely to keep their powder dry as they wait out the uncertainty.” 

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