West Midlands leads construction market

West Midlands leads construction market

The Midlands remains the engine of growth in the UK construction sector according to the latest Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Construction Market Survey.

While many UK construction sectors are experiencing a slowdown in growth, as Brexit uncertainty continues to cause concern, the West Midlands continues to surpass most the UK regions in all areas apart from public housing.  

This quarter, 30% more chartered surveyors reported that construction workloads across the region had risen rather than fallen. Whilst the West Midlands recorded the strongest reading across the UK this is a significant slowdown on the trend growth that the region has experienced in the last three years.

Private housing continues to be the key driver of construction growth across the region with 43% more chartered surveyors reporting a rise in workloads this quarter. Growth in the region’s private commercial and infrastructure sectors also surpasses that of other UK regions/countries with 24% and 30% more surveyors reporting workload increases rather than decreases in these areas respectively.

Growth in output prices rose at a more moderate pace this quarter with a net balance of 25% of West Midlands chartered surveyors seeing a rise rather than a fall. Input costs continued to increase too this quarter with a net balance of 44% of respondents reporting a rise.

The outlook for the year ahead has improved following the initial shock of the vote to leave the EU with 52% more contributors expecting their workloads to rise rather than fall over the coming 12 months, up from 31% in Q2. Employment expectations have also improved in Q3 with 40% more respondents expecting a rise rather than a fall over the year to come.

Andy Irvine FRICS of Cushman & Wakefield, Birmingham commented: "The fallout from Brexit still creates uncertainty and whilst sentiment is probably better in the region than expected, we do not know the full impact Article 50 will have. Markets don’t like uncertainty."

Simon Rubinsohn, RICS Chief Economist, commented: "Whilst nationally the picture painted by the Q3 survey is one of subdued growth, the Midlands holds its position of relative strength. Whilst anecdotal evidence from respondents suggests that uncertainty still remains following the vote to leave the EU, the majority of sectors across the region continue to outperform the rest of the UK."