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The South West has seen a run of sustained expansion, though the pace of growth has lost momentum over the last two years. Double digit growth in starts during 2011 and 2012 took the level of starts above pre-recession levels. 2013 than saw 5% growth in underlying project starts, but this slowed to 2% last year.

House building has been an important and positive driver of rising work volumes, with the housing market in the region beginning its recovery in 2012. Subsequently regional house prices have broadly followed the national average, falling between the rapid price increases seen in London and South East and the more gradual improvement in other parts of the UK. The Nationwide estimate that average house prices in the south west rose by 1.8% during the final quarter of 2014 to stand 7.9% up on a year earlier.

South East

This strengthening in the wider housing market has supported an increase in private new housing starts and repair, maintenance & improvement activity. 

Private non-residential activity has been slower to turn around. However, a rise in infrastructure sector output during 2014 indicates that strong levels of civil engineering starts tracked by Glenigan are flowing through to increased industry workload.

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