Belfast Telegraph

Ulster's construction sector lags rest of UK

By Clare Weir

Northern Ireland's beleaguered construction industry continued to languish compared to other regions over the past quarter, according to a new report.

The latest RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) Construction Market Survey reveals that Northern Ireland continued to significantly lag other UK regions over April, May and June, with a balance of -42% of chartered surveyors reporting declining workloads.

Scotland was the next most severely impacted, with a balance of -22%. London and the South East and South West and Wales were the only two regions of the UK not to report declining workloads.

All construction sub-sectors in Northern Ireland experienced a fall in activity during the three- month period, the survey shows.

Expectations for the construction sector in Northern Ireland also remain negative, with further falls in workloads, employment and profits expected. The balance for profit expectations was -86%.

RICS Northern Ireland construction spokesman, Jim Sammon, said that the sector was not likely to emerge from recession any time soon.

"With finance constrained, private sector activity remains scarce, and many firms are increasingly turning to markets outside of Northern Ireland for work," he said.

"There have been some important announcements of public sector projects, but it remains to be seen what impact this will have on workloads in the coming quarters.

"For now, across the board, Northern Ireland's construction sector continues to experience a severe recession and the expectations of chartered surveyors are for this to continue over the next 12 months."

The report came on the same day that it emerged that house prices slumped in Northern Ireland by 10.3% year-on-year to reach £132,000, according to the Office for National Statistics.

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