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“Surge” in residential housebuilding, says study

The UK enjoyed a surge in residential housebuilding activity in May, expanding at its fastest rate in some 17 months.

The research, published in the Markit/CIPS construction purchasing managers’ index, says activity rose from 53.1 in April to 56 in May.

A figure over 50 indicates expansion.

The report says developers hired more workers and ordered more supplies to cope with the growing demands of new projects.

Markit said a sharp and accelerated rise in residential work was a key factor supporting overall construction activity in May, “rebounding” considerably since the seven-month low seen in March.

Civil engineering and commercial building also received a boost.

However, developers noted that heightened economic uncertainty continued to act as a brake on client spending.

Tim Moore, senior economist at IHS Markit, said: “A sustained rebound in residential building provides an encouraging sign that the recent soft patch for property values has not deterred new housing supply.

“Instead, strong labour market conditions, resilient demand and ultra-low mortgage rates appear to have helped boost work on residential development projects.

“The forward-looking elements of the latest survey are reassuring for the construction sector, notably the acceleration in new business growth to its strongest so far this year.”

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ELS Legal is an international law firm based in London with more than 50 partner offices across the world. As part of the Cathay Associates global legal network, we are the first choice law firm for a number of British businesses and overseas clients.

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