Construction new orders fell flat across the first quarter of 2016, growing by just 1% compared to the previous quarter, with the final figure at £15.7bn.
According to the latest statistics from the Office for National Statistics & construction industry analysts Barbour ABI, private housing new orders were at their lowest for over two years and public sector construction (not including housing) totalled £1.7bn, its lowest quarterly figure for more than four years.
The bright spots from the recent figures came from office construction, which crossed the £2bn mark for the first time since the great recession & the commercial sector totalling £4.8bn, up 15% compared to a year ago.
Commenting on the figures, Michael Dall, lead economist at Barbour ABI, said: “Construction new orders were relatively mixed for the first quarter of 2016 with one of the few bright spots coming from the private commercial sector, which had its highest new orders value for more than 18 months.”
“Non-housing public sector & private housing construction decreased in the quarter, with the latter by 15 per cent, which could be seen by many as a worry, with the sector becoming a fierce stalwart in sustaining the economy and the construction sector in general for what has been a significant period.”
“It is not incomprehensible that Brexit played a role in the flat figures across the quarter, with the Government as well as private housing businesses being reluctant to commit to large scale construction projects with the influence of the referendum and the implications it could have on the economy still undecided. However, it will be the second quarter’s figures that will be most revealing on the influence of Brexit on construction.”