There was a general improvement across Northern Ireland’s hard hit construction sector in the third quarter of the year, the latest survey from the RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) has revealed.
During July, August, September, Construction activity fell at its least severe rate in four-and-a-half-years, the organisation’s survey of the industry shows. Expectations for the market also improved significantly.
The balance between chartered surveyors reporting rising and falling construction activity (at -27) was at its least negative since the first quarter of 2008.
In terms of sentiment, the balance of chartered surveyors regarding whether they expect workloads to be higher or lower in 12 months’ time improved dramatically, from -86 in Qarter 2, to -7 in Quarter 3.
The balance for employment expectations in 12 months’ time was positive (+13) for the first time since Quarter 1 in 2008.
Northern Ireland, however, continues to lag significantly behind the rest of the UK, and the local construction sector remains in a challenging place.
RICS Northern Ireland construction spokesman, Jim Sammon, said: “What we are seeing is activity in the market falling at a less significant rate than before, and the expectation is for the pace of contraction to ease further. However, activity is still falling, and the key challenges for the sector remain. Finance is constrained, private sector activity remains scarce, and public sector demand remains constrained. Many firms are increasingly turning to markets outside of Northern Ireland for work
“We hope there can be a positive resolution to the corporation tax debate now that the ministerial group has held its final meeting and sent a report to the Prime Minister. This would be very welcome from the construction sector’s and the wider economy’s perspective”.