12 Jan

Rise in UK home construction

Rise in UK home construction

New figures show there was a rise in construction activity during the last three months of 2014.

Data produced by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) revealed 53 per cent of construction and development firms saw an increase in their commercial sector workloads.

Construction levels of private housing was also on the up as the demand for new homes continues.

However, some firms did raise concerns about a lack of skilled labour and a shortage of materials.

It was also highlighted that the forthcoming general election could have an impact on performance in the sector, but at the moment confidence remains strong with 75 per cent more respondents expecting business to rise. A total of 55 per cent of those surveyed also predict there will be an increase in recruitment activity.

Alan Muse, director of built environment professional groups at RICS, said: "The political challenges in the run-up to the election are around shoring up industry confidence to ensure the framework for effective planning and delivery of projects are in place to create long term growth that is spread across the UK.

"This will also enable the investment that the industry needs to raise productivity and encourage new training initiatives."

New figures also show there has been a rise in valuation activity despite a slowdown in the property market.

Research from Connells Survey and Valuation reports there was a nine per cent increase in valuation activity over the past 12 months.

Although there was a 17 per cent drop in total valuations made in December compared to November, there was still a strong increase for the year as a whole.

"This latest increase in valuations activity does contrast with more rapid expansion recorded earlier in 2014. But a more balanced and sustainable pick up bodes well for 2015," explained John Bagshaw, corporate services director of Connells Survey and Valuation.

The results would suggest there has been a rise in remortgaging activity, with a 25 per cent increase compared to 2013. It is thought such an increase is because many homeowners are takin advantage of low deals amid suggests the base rate of interest is set to increase in the near future.

Data also showed a rise in first-time buyer activity, with the number of valuations for those stepping on to the property ladder increase by nine per cent over the year, in contrast to a 16 per cent drop in December. However, it is hoped the changes in government tax legislation and the continuing buyer schemes will continue to encourage people to purchase their first home.

"With an improving jobs market, greater mortgage affordability and consistent above-inflation wage growth it is clear that confidence is returning to first time buyers. Looking ahead, the recent changes to stamp duty and the ongoing Help to Buy Scheme should help this sector continue to perform well in 2015," said Mr Bagshaw.ADNFCR-1222-ID-801769806-ADNFCR

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