Infrastructure and housing lead the way as construction contracts hit two-year high in February

Boosted by strong performances in infrastructure and housing, the value of UK construction contracts hit its highest figure for more than two years to reach £6.4 billion in February, the latest statistics reveal.

According to the Economic & Construction Market Review from industry analysts Barbour ABI, the 15.4 per cent increase on the same month last year was the highest figure since November 2014.

Contracts for housing projects again reached £2.7 billion in February, the same figure as the first month of the year, as residential building saw its best performance since the economic downturn. There was also strong performances from the hotel, leisure and sport sectors.

Infrastructure accounted for £1.48 billion worth of construction contracts - an increase of 20.8 per cent on January - while commercial and retail projects also increased month-on-month by 17.5 per cent – the highest since September 2016.

However, contracts in the industrial sector crashed to a two-year low - falling 35 per cent year-on-year to its lowest monthly total since October 2014.

Despite larger, more valuable projects being commissioned in February - including projects such as a £400 million Port of Dover job and the £350 million Trafford Park Metrolink extension, the overall number of projects saw a decline of 19.6 per cent compared with January.

The South East led all regions for construction contract value with 18 per cent of the total.

Michael Dall, lead economist at Barbour ABI, said: “After recent slumps in the infrastructure and commercial and retail sectors, it was encouraging to see both bounce back and produce encouraging figures in February, alleviating some of the pressure away from housebuilding.”

“With the hotel, leisure & sport sector recording its highest construction contract value in years, it will give the sector a well needed confidence boost, thanks greatly to a £400 million holiday resort, another major project given the go-ahead in February, a trend that made last month a positive one for construction.”

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