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Scottish construction sector growth ‘held up by private housing workloads’

Public housing and non-housing workloads declined during the first quarter of 2019, according to RICS figures.

Only 2% of respondents had an overall rise (Joe Giddens/PA)
Only 2% of respondents had an overall rise (Joe Giddens/PA)

Private housing workloads have helped maintain growth in the Scottish construction sector during the first quarter of 2019, according to new figures.

The RICS UK Construction and Infrastructure Market Survey shows only 2% more respondents reported a rise in workloads, the lowest net balance in three years.

A net balance of 16% of private housing companies have reported an increase in activity, which is “holding up” the construction sector despite political uncertainty having an impact.

The outlook for workloads and employment growth has modestly improved Jeffrey Matsu

Jeffrey Matsu, RICS economist, said: “Although market confidence has become more subdued in recent quarters, the outlook for workloads and employment growth has modestly improved.

“While prolonged Brexit-related uncertainty has taken a toll on business investment, its resolution has the potential to unleash pent-up demand that can be supportive of future growth.”

Private commercial results were also steady, with 8% more respondents reporting growth.

Public housing and non-housing workloads declined during the first quarter, with a net balance of 30% and 14% fewer chartered surveyors reporting a drop in activity across Scotland respectively.

Workloads in infrastructure were also subdued this quarter, as a net balance of -5% more respondents reported a decline, down from +8% in Q4.

Looking ahead, a net balance of 19% more respondents expect to have rising workloads in the coming 12 months.

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