The Federation of Master Builder’s survey for the first quarter of 2017 has revealed that workloads rose faster than they have since the end of 2007. That is now five quarters in a row of sustained growth in Scottish housebuilding. While they express some concern about the ‘uncertainty’ caused by next Independence referendum, this seems to me to be unfounded and a bit of a cliché being rolled out by businesses. The Scottish Financial News has already reported that Indyref2 is unlikely to have any negative effects on deals and major UK housebuilder, Bellway, has already insisted Scottish independence would be no barrier to further growth. See:
Here are the main points from the FMB survey:
- Scottish construction SME workloads rose faster than at any time since Q4 2007;
- One in two construction SMEs predict rising workloads in the coming months, with just 5% predicting a decrease in activity;
- However, 85% of builders believe that material prices will rise in the next three months;
- 58% of firms are struggling to hire carpenters, the highest reported level since the financial crisis.
I think we all know where the blame for point 4 lies – decades of Tory and New Labour neglect of the real economy in favour of the financial sector.
This follows on from another very positive report in March:
Both of these also follow on from a Scottish Government budget announced for 2017/18, of over £470m of direct capital investment to begin delivery of 50,000 affordable homes,