Andy Sommerville, Director of Search Acumen, comments: “This latest data underlines the scale of the sharp bounce back the construction sector has undergone since the troughs of lockdown.
“Elevated output levels have been largely driven by a recovery of activity in the housing sector. Construction firms have increased housing supply in response to high demand from prospective buyers seeking to capitalise on the financial benefits offered through the higher Stamp Duty threshold.
“Looking forward, severe headwinds are forming that will likely curtail activity in the housing market and dampen construction activity. Concern is mounting over how the UK economy will withstand the reintroduction of lockdown measures in England. Buyers could now renege on big ticket purchases due to uncertainty over their future financial position and job prospects. Reduced demand may cause developers to scale back supply, hitting future output levels.
“However, developers may still be focused on building outside of cities given that home working practices continue under lockdown. City centre properties are becoming less desirable due to remote workers moving further away from their physical offices. This could increase construction activity in satellite towns and the north of England.
“Greater digitisation and enhanced use of technology should not be limited to the corporate sector. Improving access and the quality of data available to developers could help them better identify risks upfront, enabling them to make more informed decisions about developments. This should increase confidence in the market and prompt firms to increase the supply of housing.”