UK construction and property
- Construction starts fell by 48% between Q3 and Q4 2022, and were 20% lower than the same quarter in 2021, according to data analyst Glenigan. However, it also revealed that planning approvals were up slightly and are 5% higher than Q4 2021.
- Retail | Eight retailers announced expansion programmes that will see high numbers of new stores built around the UK with many mentioning that they wanted to “give people another reason to visit the high street”. High street footfall between Christmas and new year was only 7% higher than in 2021 and was nearly 20% lower than in 2019.
- UK Infrastructure Bank | The UKIB has been criticised by the Public Accounts Committee for being rushed-through with “weak financial governance. The Bank has currently deployed £1bn of its £22bn fund in 10 deals. Its critics have pointed out that it is funding small, low-risk schemes, that could achieve funding elsewhere.
- Industrial sector | Despite a recent dip in values, London estate agent Robert Irving Burns expects the industrial sector to remain resilient owing to strong demand.
- Material sales | Builders’ merchants reported that the sales values were up 1.4% in November 2022, but the sales volumes were 13.6% lower. A 17.3% increase in prices caused the difference.
- Construction forecasts | The Construction Products Association expects output to fall by 4.7% this year, a severe downgrade from its projection six months ago of -0.4%. Private housing new build and private housing repair, maintenance and improvement are expected to be the worst affected. However, it has been clear on the need for “keeping in mind the broader context that this is not 2008 and the decline is nowhere near the fall in output that occurred in the last recession”