Project starts hit 4-month high
The value of projects starting on site from March to May 2014 was 20% higher than the same period a year earlier, according to the latest figures from Glenigan. That growth is the biggest since January. These latest figures were driven by a renewed strengthening of non-residential work.
Glenigan’s non-residential index was up by 24% compared to the same period in 2013, the strongest rate of growth since the three months to January this year. The rise has been largely fuelled by the private sector — with the industrial, office, and hotel and leisure sectors all seeing healthy improvements in the value of starts.
The data suggests that house builders are continuing to open up new sites in response to strengthening demand. The value of private-housing starts was up by a fifth, marking the 14th consecutive month of rising private-housing starts.
There were also positive signs from the public sector. Education and health starts both rose, with community and amenity work the only areas seeing a fall. Growth in education fits with the longer-term upward trend, but the recent upturn in medical construction is not expected to continue.
Social-housing work also fell back, with the underlying value of starts down by 13% compared to a year earlier.
Allan Wilén, economics director at Glenigan, said, ‘A renewed strengthening of non-resident work is the most significant driver of the high 20% increase recorded in our latest index, though the underlying value of project starts also increased across the housing and infrastructure sectors.
‘The flow of non-residential showed a pause in the first quarter of 2014, with a modest 1% rise in the value of starts. This came as the rate of growth slowed in commercial work, remaining just sufficient to offset weaknesses in public-sector construction. However, the latest figure show a renewed expansion in the underlying value of starts.’