Construction figures give signs of hope

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There were further signs of a housebuilding revival yesterday as official figures showed a 6.3 per cent jump in construction work for new homes in April.

The Office for National Statistics said housebuilding work also rose on a month-on-month basis in April, up 3.6 per cent.

But the wider construction sector came under pressure, with month-on-month output sliding by 6.5 per cent against increases of 12.1 per cent in March and 8.6 per cent in February.

The year-on-year figures showed an improving underlying picture as activity fell by the smallest amount since the start of 2012, down 1.1 per cent.

Construction output over the three months to April was also 3.3 per cent higher than the previous quarter.

The figures provide the latest evidence of recovery in the residential housebuilding sector as it benefits from Government initiatives and improving interest from home buyers.

The Markit/CIPS construction purchasing managers’ index showed the first rise in construction output for seven months in May thanks to the fastest increase in housebuilding work for more than two years.

Housebuilders have been reporting surging interest as the new Help to Buy scheme sends would-be buyers flocking to new developments. Under the scheme, the Government lends buyers up to 20 per cent of the value of a new-build home.