Housebuilding work rebounded in April, with figures from the Office For National Statistics showing the value of monthly housebuilding was £3.74bn in April, up 1.1% from the £3.7bn recorded in March. The figure was 6.1% higher than the same month last year and slightly above the figure recorded in February 2020 pre-pandemic.
Potentially alleviating concerns of a housebuilding slow-down
Housebuilding Today stated:
“The month-on-month increase may alleviate concern that the housebuilding market is slowing down. However, another dataset, the Construction purchasing managers’ index (PMI), compiled by the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS) and S&P Global, showed growth flatlined in May to its slowest level since the start of the pandemic.”
They added: “Today’s figures also show overall construction output falling 0.4% in April month-on-month after five months of consecutive growth. Construction output dropped by 0.4% in April after five months of consecutive growth, the ONS has reported.”
Construction News noted that following a surge in March driven by increased repair works after major storms, output decreased by 0.4 per cent in April, or £58m. It was the first monthly decline since October last year.
Lower levels of private housing repair and maintenance work, and private commercial new work, were the main drivers behind the slump, according to the ONS. They decreased by 6.5 per cent and 3.8 per cent respectively.
Highlighting the “changeability” within the construction industry
Construction experts have said the monthly ONS figures highlight the “changeability” that remains within the construction industry, expressing disappointment at the decline.
But there was some positive news as output increased 2.9 per cent in the three months to April 2022 – the sixth consecutive growth in the three-month on three-month series.
Overall, the level of construction output in April was 3.3 per cent, or £481m, above the February 2020 pre-COVID 19 level.
Simon Rawlinson, partner at Arcadis, was quoted by Housebuilding Today, saying that given the amount of supply chain disruption, the continued growth of new work was a
“testament to the robustness of the industry and in particular the stability provided by both the housing market and infrastructure”.
He added that the ONS data showed that “for the time being at least, the industry is in good health”.