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Business News

Pace of housebuilding is fastest for almost 10 years


Britain’s builders are constructing homes at the fastest pace for nearly a decade as the industry struggles to keep up with fresh demand, the latest evidence from the sector showed today.

Residential construction activity jumped at the sharpest rate since November 2003 during September, according to the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply, as the Government’s Help to Buy scheme and cheaper mortgages send buyers flooding into the market.

The industry is taking on staff at the quickest pace since 2007 but the strain of the sudden upturn is also showing on suppliers. The time builders must wait for deliveries of raw materials reached its longest since 1997, the CIPS added. The latest buoyant signs follow reports from leading housebuilders of brick and breeze-block shortages as well as soaring pay rates for brickies.

Overall construction activity on the CIPS survey — where a score over 50 signals expansion — slowed marginally to 58.9 in September but remains close to August’s six-year highs and keeps the UK economy on course for stellar growth between July and September. Cips chief executive David Noble said the industry “is firing on all cylinders”.

Tim Moore, senior economist with survey compiler Markit, said: “The reversal in fortunes has spanned commercial, residential and public sector construction projects. Moreover, builders are confident that a tide of new tender opportunities will continue to lift the construction sector in the months ahead.”