RICS survey: Housing market drives first quarter construction
The latest Construction Market survey from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors shows that a strong private and commercial housing market drove the construction industry in the UK in the first quarter of 2007. Workloads increased at their fastest pace since the second quarter of 2004.
The survey reported that 28 percent more Chartered Surveyors reported a rise in construction rather than a fall in the first quarter of this year. This was up from 26 percent in the final quarter of 2006. Growth was fastest in Wales. In addition, the amount of construction increased in Northern Ireland in the quarter after two quarters of declines.
While the cost of energy and raw materials declined a bit in the first quarter, the profit outlook for the construction sector remained slightly below average for the fourth quarter in a row. Still, according to RICS senior economist David Stubbs, the outlook for the industry remains strong.
Perhaps the biggest problem faced by the industry is the difficulty in finding skilled construction workers. Thirty-two percent of respondents to the survey said they are having trouble finding workers. However RICS also reports that the labour market is beginning to stabilize despite a slowing in the arrival of workers from eastern Europe.