Private house starts slump in Q1

Published:  28 April, 2011

LONDON: New private housing starts slumped by nearly two-thirds in the first quarter of the year compared to 12 months ago.

The 61% fall in the value of private housing site starts provides strong evidence that housebuilders are building out existing sites, while reining back project starts as they face falling selling prices across most of the country said construction information specialist, Glenigan.

In its latest survey, the UK construction market analysis and data specialist reported that the wider construction industry is being hit by spending cuts. Across the industry as a whole, the Glenigan Index for project starts in March fell by 31% on a year ago.

James Abraham, economist at Glenigan said: "The weak first quarter of 2011 is in sharp contrast to the strong rebound experienced a year ago in the run-up to the General Election.

"The construction industry has been hit by reduced government investment and continued private sector weakness, with private housing experiencing the biggest contraction."

Mr Abraham added: "Government spending cuts have already ensured a modest decline in the value of health, education and community and amenity builds, further retrenchment is anticipated from the start of the new financial year in April."

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