House-building on the rise, according to chartered surveyors

The UK house-building industry, devastated by the credit crunch, is showing signs of recovery. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors' study on the health of the industry showed that sentiment had turned positive for the first time since the spring of 2008, shortly before the global financial crisis which lead to a sharp downturn in lending for house purchases.

Five per cent more chartered surveyors reported rising rather than falling workloads for the first quarter of 2010. This compares with a net balance of 12 per cent reporting falls in Q4 2009. This positive turnaround reverses a decline which has stretched for seven consecutive quarters and is the first time that the net balance has turned positive since the first quarter of 2008 when it was 1 per cent.

Surveyors in London and the South-east recorded the highest up-tick in the number of new build properties they were asked to survey. "The construction sector seems to be finally lifting its head above the recession parapet, but the continuing lack of development finance remains a major obstacle to a sustainable recovery with surveyors still pessimistic about future prospects," Simon Rubinsohn, RICS chief economist said.

But not all parts of the UK have seen a recovery in sentiment: surveyors in Northern Ireland had a decrease in workload, reflecting the parlous state of house building and the housing market in the region.