By Daniel Hunter

Small-medium sized businesses (SMEs) in the construction industry are the most confident about sales growth in the three months leading up to October, according to research from Bibby Financial Services.

Statistics from the invoice finance specialist suggests two thirds (61%) of construction companies expect sales to rise in the third quarter, up from 53 per just cent three months ago.

Helen Wheeler, Managing Director of Construction Finance at Bibby Financial Services said this surge has led to a rise in optimism among sub-contractors and smaller construction firms.

She said: “The small and medium-sized construction firms and sub-contractors we have spoken with tell us that they expect sales to increase this summer, and much of this work has been generated by large house-building developers.”

The sector bucks the trend as other SMEs have indicated a slight dip in sales confidence and differs from the Office for National Statistic’s first GDP estimate for Q2, which suggests construction growth fell-back 0.5% throughout the period.

Amongst the 1,000 SMEs surveyed across all sectors, 57% expect sales to increase in Q3 which is down from 64% when surveyed in the first quarter of the year.

Some sectors have seen a notable drop in sales confidence with 53% of service sector SMEs expecting sales to grow in the third quarter, falling from 69% in the first quarter of the year.

Wheeler continued: “With the summer months the busiest time of the year for the construction industry, it is heartening to see that SMEs in the sector are confident about sales growth. This shows that work is spreading through the chain and sub-contractors are benefiting.

“Other sectors are not as bullish, but this could reflect a more realistic optimism now, following steady growth over the past six months.

“If construction businesses are to achieve the growth they expect, they need to ensure they have sustainable funding in place to enable them to take on more work.

“We have seen an upturn in the number of construction firms looking for finance and in the second quarter, we provided £58 million in funding to the sector, up from £54 million in the first three months of the year.”

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