The construction industry has emerged from a tough winter with housebuilders shrugging off five successive months of falling output, according to official figures.
Output bounced 3.9 per cent in March, stronger than expected by most economists. The encouraging figures included a 2.3 per cent jump in private housebuilding over the month. There was also double-digit growth in repair, maintenance and improvement work.
However, the building industry – about 6 per cent of the economy overall – is still in recession despite March’s growth spurt.
Output fell in the first three months of the year – as it did during the previous quarter – albeit by a smaller margin (1.1 per cent) than the 1.6 per cent originally estimated by the Office for National Statistics.
The improved figures mean that the UK’s sluggish 0.3 per cent growth in the first quarter could be raised higher if volatile services data are also revised up.
“There now looks to be a very good chance that GDP growth will be revised up to 0.4 per cent,” Howard Archer, IHS Global Insight’s UK economist, said.
Bovis Homes added more cheer yesterday as it raised its full-year dividend from 30p to 40p a share in response to strong trading. “Good levels of customer confidence combined with an increased number of active traditional housing sites under development by the group, continue to provide the opportunity for growth,” the company said.
However, its shares ended down 1p at 1,046p.Reuse content