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Construction output zero in three months to May: ONS

Construction output came in flat at zero per cent in the three months to May, seasonally adjusted, according to data collected by the Office for National Statistics.

This result is due to a 0.5 per cent fall in repair and maintenance, offset by a 0.3 per cent rise in new work, the data shows.

The increase in new work was driven by growth of 2.2 per cent and 8.4 per cent in private commercial new work and public new housing, respectively.

The fall in repair and maintenance was accountable to a drop of 2.5 per cent in private and public housing repair, and a 3.2 per cent decline in maintenance.

Looking at the data on a monthly basis, construction output rose by 0.6 per cent between April and May, with new work rising 0.4 per cent, and repair and maintenance by 1.2 per cent.

Spicerhaart Part Exchange & Assisted Move business development director Neil Knight says: “The non-adjusted figures show a rise, both on the three-monthly and annual figures.

“We would expect a rise in the summer compared to winter, so that is not a huge surprise, but the annual rise is positive.

“This is probably a lot to do with the political and economic climate being a little bit less frantic now so builders and developers are feeling a bit more confident that they will be able to sell houses, via schemes like part-exchange as well as directly.”

Naismiths managing director Blane Perrotton adds: “Months of extreme volatility have left the construction industry as ‘punchdrunk’ as a boxer – tottering three steps forward and then two steps back.

“This latest snapshot of the sector shows it is still on its feet but stumbling aimlessly and yearning for the Brexit bell.

“Overall, what little growth there was in the last quarter was cancelled out by the sharp contraction in non-housing public sector work.

“While zero growth is not yet a decline, the omens for the future are not good. The forward-looking PMI data found that output in June fell at the fastest rate since the dark days of 2009.”

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