North's construction output reaches five year high

Construction output in the north at end of 2016 was at its highest level in five years according to new figures
Gareth McKeown

Construction output in the north at end of 2016 was at its highest level in five years.

The latest edition of the Northern Ireland Construction Bulletin has revealed a continuation of the general upward trend in construction output, first recorded in late 2014.

The figures published by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) show total output in the fourth quarter of last year increased by almost seven per cent compared with Q3 and was 12.8 per cent higher than the same quarter in 2015.

The increase was accounted for by an 11.7 per cent increase in new work and a slight increase in repair and maintenance.

Belying the news the housing output fell by over five per cent in the last quarter of 2016 the number of new buyer enquiries rose at the strongest rate in six months last month, according to local surveyors.

Bucking the trend across the UK as a whole Northern Ireland house-hunters came out in force in what is perceived to be a good value market, according to the latest RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) and Ulster Bank Residential Market Survey.

Newly agreed sales in the north rose at the fastest rate in four months, according to the survey, and respondents expect the number of sales to continue increasing in the quarter ahead.

“Nine out of 10 respondents say that the Northern Ireland housing market reflects fair value, which is not the case in other parts of the UK; notably London and the South East. The fact that the market is so much more affordable here is a key factor in the more buoyant activity, coupled with the continuing relatively strong economic conditions," RICS residential property spokesman, Samuel Dickey said.

Sean Murphy, managing director, personal banking at Ulster Bank added: "The first quarter of the year was a positive one for the Northern Ireland housing market, with prices, sales and instruction each rising again in March, and surveyors expect this to continue."

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