House builders' confidence hits highest level in 7 years

Housebuilders have been buoyed by Help to Buy but the availability of subcontractors is falling

Britain’s builders are the most confident since 2007 buoyed by Help to Buy scheme and growing optimism among construction firms, it emerged today.

The Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply’s latest snapshot of the sector revealed sentiment at its most upbeat since January 2007, with housebuilders driving the industry forward in March as activity recovered from floods and heavy rainfall the previous month.

The rise in residential building was one of the fastest for a decade and offers encouraging signs of builders stepping up to match increased demand spurred by Help to Buy.

The Government’s scheme has been running for a year to get would-be purchasers onto the property ladder and was recently extended to 2020 by the Chancellor in the Budget. Building society Nationwide today reported average house prices up a staggering 9.5 per cent on last year and the market running twice that rate in London.

Cips chief executive David Noble said: “Confidence in construction is soaring thanks to the Budget boost and dissipating impact of the floods in a ringing endorsement the recovery will continue. As the rain gave way to sun, the housing market reclaimed its spot as the star performer.”

The demand is such that builders are hiring at a rate scarcely seen since August 2007, pushing up salaries sharply as the industry hunts for labour after years in the doldrums. Average pay jumped 5.6 per cent in the year to January, according to the Office for National Statistics, with big housebuilding firms reporting that bricklayers were able to command salaries of £50,000 a year.

The rush to build is putting a strain on supply chains as construction firms are forced to wait longer for raw materials. The Cips survey also revealed the availability of subcontractors had fallen at its fastest pace for 14 years — the “fly in the ointment” according to survey compiler Markit.

Berenberg chief economist Rob Wood said: “The one problem for construction is increasing signs of capacity constraints. Delivery times for raw materials increased by an almost record amount, as surging building activity put pressure on suppliers. Wage gains are unlikely to slow much while the sector booms.”

New business orders grew at their slowest pace for six months across the construction industry overall, but the sector, which accounts for around 6 per cent of the UK’s economy has expanded for 11 months in a row, Cips said.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Customer Relations Officer

£13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join ...

Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Jemma Gent: Project Coordinator

£12 - £15 Hourly Rate: Jemma Gent: In this role you will report to the Head of...

Recruitment Genius: Evening Administrator

£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established early...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable