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UK construction is the the only sector of the economy still growing

March 2021

Responding to the latest ONS Construction output data, Gareth Belsham, director of the national property consultancy and surveyors Naismiths, commented: “Construction’s splendid isolation – as the only sector of the economy still growing in January – is a source of pride for the industry.  But it’s also a testament to how far construction has come since the eye-watering slump it endured during the first national lockdown last spring.”

“With building contractors able to keep working safely – albeit under strict social distancing rules – construction has absorbed the impact of the latest nationwide lockdown far better than other sectors.”

“January’s jump in output was modest compared to the gravity-defying rate of growth recorded during last summer and autumn – which saw output expand for seven months in a row.”

“Nevertheless huge progress has been made.  Buoyed by a splurge in Government spending, new infrastructure work is now a full 8% above its pre-pandemic level.”

“And private sector housebuilders are making up for lost time. New residential building work is now a breath-taking 141% higher than its 2020 nadir and back within touching distance of its pre-Covid level.”

“With the Budget peppered with demand-side incentives like the extended Stamp Duty holiday and new Government-backed mortgages for first-time buyers, many housebuilders report full orderbooks and bullish sentiment.”

“All this is leading to some growing pains, with the supply chain struggling to keep up with demand for certain key building materials.”

“And impressive though it is, the recovery is far from complete. It’s also heavily reliant on the continued growth of the residential sector. But for now the industry is taking the Prime Minister’s instruction to ‘build build build’ literally.”

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