By Marcus Leach

A 24% fall in residential construction project starts was a key factor in the overall 10% decline in construction project starts according to the latest Glenigan Index. The data compares construction project starts for the three months to November to the same period a year ago.

“Private housing starts fell 13% but are forecast to stabilise over the coming months. However, social housing declined 38% year on year and further retrenchment is forecast here as the cut backs in Government funding bite,” said James Abraham, economist, Glenigan.

Non-Residential project starts were 13% down on a year ago as both privately and publicly funded projects were thin on the ground.

“Education construction remains weak and the value of health and community & amenity projects declined for the first time in the second half of 2011. The only non-residential sector to avoid a decline was retail, buoyed by a number of large extension and refurbishment projects” said Abraham.

Civil engineering project starts for the three months to November were 61% up on a year ago.

“The flow of civil engineering projects can be volatile. Utilities saw a sharp increase with project starts including the decommissioning of a nuclear power plant and new wind turbine projects, while the infrastructure sector saw investments in road and rail station projects in London, the West Midlands and Scotland,” Abraham observed.

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