ONS construction output figures – comment

The January ONS construction output figures were released this morning. Commenting on the figures, Jan Biggins, national sales manager at Spicerhaart Part-Exchange and Assisted Move, said: “The ONS construction data for January presents a very mixed picture of the housing market. It is not unusual for output to drop off in the New Year, so the 1% drop in new housing output from December shouldn’t cause undue alarm.

“Looking at a longer-term perspective, the three months to January saw an increase in output of 2.6% compared to the previous three months, and this was 5.2% higher than the same period a year ago. This picture of steady but unspectacular growth is broadly in line with our own experience on the ground, where we are seeing plenty of new developments coming onstream.

“The big question now is what impact the coronavirus will have. The housing market resembles a game of snakes-and-ladders at the moment: having just about negotiated the political and economic uncertainty around Brexit, we could find ourselves sliding down a big snake marked ‘Covid-19’ and ending up back at square one. But it’s important to remember that while the virus may set things back, it will not be here forever. We all need to work together to ensure any impact is only temporary and we can get back to climbing those ladders again.”