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The value of project starts rose by 40% in Wales in 2014, the latest upturn after a stop-start recovery over the last three years. While output was rising in 2013, the flow of new starts fell back sharply by 34%. Although there has been a subsequent recovery in project starts, the drop in new projects in 2013 has acted as a brake on construction output during the last year.

The longer term prospects are brighter however, with forward indicators pointing to a strengthening in output growth during 2015. The value of underlying detailed planning approvals rose by a third in 2013 and by another 31% in 2014. The value of project starts has also turned around, rising by 40% in 2014. After this marked expansion last year we expect starts to remain flat in 2015. The first quarter was down a modest 2% compared to the same point last year.

The Help to Buy initiative was only introduced by the Welsh Assembly in January 2014, and we anticipate this will boost private housing starts in the principality. However house price growth has remained muted even after the introduction; in the year to Q4 2014 Wales saw the slowest house price growth of any part of the UK, according to Nationwide statistics.


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