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  • The 2014 Q4 Construction Trade Survey, compiled by the CPA, found during the final quarter of 2014:
    • Among building contractors, a positive balance of 44% reported a rise in output. This balance was 53% for private housing and 40% for commercial output. 
    • A positive balance of 12% of contractors reported a rise in new orders, boosted by private housing, commercial and public non-housing. However SMEs reported a marked slowdown in enquiries in Q4. 
    • There was a dip in the overall number of contractors reporting difficulties recruiting on-site trades, to 22% from 31% in the previous quarter. However 70% of firms reported difficulty hiring bricklayers.
    • 57% of firms reported rising labour costs and 68% say materials cost rose.
    • Half of product manufacturers expect sales to rise by over 5% during 2015. A further 20% expect rises of up to 5%, though around 10% expect sales to fall by over 5%. Expectations were equally strong among heavy and light side producers.
    • (The Construction Trade Survey encompasses trade surveys conducted by the CPA, NFB, NSCC, CECA, UKCG and FMB)


  • Business investment fell in 2014 Q4 for the second consecutive quarter, according to ONS statistics. Business investment fell by 1.4% between the third and fourth quarters. Compared to the same quarter a year ago, investment was up by 2.1%, the weakest year on year improvement since the start of 2010. A strong start to last year mean the annual figures are more positive; a rise of 6.8% over 2014 as a whole was the strongest since 2007. Investment into dwellings, both public and private, rose by 6.6% during the year. Investment into other buildings, structures (and transfer costs) rose by 2.8% compared to 2013; this was the largest annual rise since 2007.
  • Mortgage approval figures rose in January for the first time since June, according to the British Banks Association. Mortgage approvals rose by 2% compared to December, but were down 26% on January 2014. This adds to evidence that the slowing in mortgage approvals seen throughout 2014 may have now bottomed. Bank of England figures showed approvals rising in December for the first time since June, but remaining down 17% on a year earlier.

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