Rics calls for state investment in housebuilding

Efforts should be made to ramp up the number of houses built in the UK, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) has claimed.

Its Construction Market Survey for the third quarter of 2012 revealed building levels in the UK continued to decline over the three month period, with both private and public housebuilding levels dropping.

Overall, 11 per cent more chartered surveyors polled by the group claimed there had been a fall in housing workloads within the public sector rather than a rise, while this figure was four per cent within the private sector.

As a result, the government ought to deliver on its residential construction initiatives and work to meet rapidly-growing demand for accommodation, the organisation asserted.

Ministers recently announced a stimulus package of £50 billion and Rics said it hopes this cash helps to promote some of the housebuilding projects that are so badly needed within the UK.

In general, the building sector in the UK is flat and there has not been any significant growth in activity for nearly five years.

Only the Midlands realised a significant growth in workload readings, which saw a positive net balance of ten per cent.

Nonetheless, despite shrinking workloads, 25 per cent more surveyors anticipate a rise rather than fall in employment opportunities for construction workers during the coming year, with positive outlooks also recorded for future margins and workloads.

A total net balance of ten per cent more professionals polled forecast a stabilisation of margins in the immediate future, with this marking the first positive result since 2007.

However, revenue and margins continued to shrink during the third quarter of 2012, while construction costs remained on an upwards trajectory.

“With the raft of measures recently put in place by the government, it appears that there is some optimism that things could improve over the next twelve months in terms of workloads, profits and jobs,” Rics chief economist Simon Rubinsohn said.

“If this comes to pass, it will be an extremely welcome lift for both the construction sector and the wider economy,” he added.

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