UK housebuilding accelerated at its fastest pace for more than a decade in July.
The Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply’s latest purchasing managers’ index- compiled by Markit - revealed a rise to 68 for residential construction, which is the highest since November 2003.
The level for the overall construction industry edged back to 62.4 in July, from 62.6 the month before. A reading of more than 50 represents expansion.
The CITB’s forecasts suggest industry growth of 3.7 per cent a year over the next five years in London, outstripping the UK average of 2.9 per cent, due to projects such as Westfield’s £1 billion expansion of its giant Shepherds Bush shopping centre.
Janette Welton-Pai, the CITB’s Greater London manager, said carpenters, plasterers and roofers were most in demand as the body attempts to re-engage workers made redundant in the recession and encourage employers to take on more staff.
But even by 2019 the construction workforce in London — currently 393,700 — is not expected to return to the pre-recession peak of 446,681.
Welton-Pai said: “Ensuring that we have the workforce required will still prove a major challenge for industry.
“Many employers are already struggling to source the skilled employees they need to carry out work and unless they plan effectively now the problem will persist into the medium and longer term.”