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Housebuilding Activity Jump Brings UK Construction to 17-Month High

A popular industry index has suggested that a marked increase in housebuilding activity in the UK construction sector will defy earlier, gloomier forecasts made by economists.

It was recently confirmed that the Markit purchasing managers index for the UK construction industry shot up to 56 in May, an increase over the 53.1 reported in April and surpassing the earlier expectation of 52.7. Any figure over 50 is indicative of sector growth.

The result is the highest attained since December 2015, and together with the recent positive manufacturing index results, suggests that the national economy is on the verge of undergoing an industry renaissance in the months to come.

According to Markit, housebuilding activity was helped along by the most rapid increase in residential construction work since December 2015, which has revitalised after a seven-month low last March.

Tim Moore, IHS Markit senior economist, said that the sustained increase in residential building activity provides positive reassurance that the recent rough patch in UK property values has not dampened new housing supply output.

Specialists in Construction Insurance

Mr Moore said that a fortuitous combination of ongoing demand, good labour market conditions, and extremely low mortgage rates have helped to create more residential development project work in May.

Mike Chappell, global managing construction director at the Lloyds Bank commercial division, pointed out that while the UK press is currently focused on the upcoming general election, the recent positive reading suggests that the construction industry is simply carrying on.

Mr Chappell explained that the manifestos for the major political parties have all included some welcome commitments that would boost the sector even further, such as infrastructure projects. The general hope is that after the final election results are in, plans to make these projects a reality will quickly take effect.


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