The Office for National Statistics have released their latest figures showing that the UK construction sector shrank by 0.8% during the period from March to April 2015.
Despite the fall, the figures still shows an increase of 1.5% when compared with the construction output levels of a year earlier in April 2014. This points to a trend of improving longer term growth with the housing sector acting as the major factor that is boosting the construction industry.
This is backed up by the fact that new private housing grew by 4.5% between March and April 2015. When compared with April 2014 that figure equates to a substantial 16.6% rise in the number of new private housing builds.
New public housing also increased with a 9.4% rise between March and April 2015 and a 3.6% rise when compared with figures from a year earlier. The Private Commercial sector's output shrank by 0.2% from March to April 2015, but is up by 5.2% from April 2014.
Further evidence that the pattern of growth in the construction sector is being predominantly fuelled by new housing came in the falling infrastructure output figures with a 2.2% decrease from March to April 2015. However this figure still represents a 9.7% increase on the figures from a year earlier in 2014 which gives an encouraging sign.
Office for National Statistics and Barbour ABI figures show that the overall number of new orders for the first quarter of 2015 increased by 0.4% with growth present in private housing, infrastructure, industrial and the commercial sectors. New order figures were 8.0% higher than in the first quarter of 2014.
According to the CPA/Barbour ABI Index there was no change in the number of orders between March and April showing that overall construction industry activity is still strong.
Data also showed that on all contract activity, May 2015 also recorded a growth in the value of new contracts awarded, with the figure reaching a total of £5.6 billion.
This figure shows a 1.4% increase from April to May and a 7% increase on the value of contracts awarded in the same month in 2014.
In May 2015 the number of construction projects decreased by 9.3% and by 14.9% when compared with a year earlier.