THE construction market has continued to slow across Yorkshire – as government spending cuts and a lack of commercial finance take their toll on the industry, according to a survey.
The latest Construction Market Survey from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, said workloads across almost all sectors in the region fell away during the last quarter.
There was a similarly negative picture in other areas of the North of England as well as Scotland and Northern Ireland.
That was in contrast to London and the South East where workload and employment expectations are positive.
Some 11% more surveyors reported that activity in Yorkshire decreased rather than increased – with overall workloads in negative territory since the end of 2007. The private industrial and public non-housing sectors suffered the most, recording net balances of minus 18 and minus 17 respectively.
Material costs continued to rise in the region, with 62% more surveyors reporting a hike in prices – up from 56% during the previous three months.
However, surveyors in the region report that the cost of hiring tradespeople and professionals continues to fall, reflecting increased competition for jobs, which is driving down the cost of labour.
However, 23% more respondents expect employment levels to fall rather than rise in the region over the next 12 months.
Surveyors were similarly pessimistic with their predictions for future workloads in Yorkshire – at a net balance at minus 11.
Estimated profit margins also remain firmly negative, with 64% more expecting profits to fall rather than rise over the coming year. This reading has now remained in negative territory since the fourth quarter of 2007.
RICS regional spokesman Chris Harrop said: “The figures make undeniably joyless reading for those in the Yorkshire and Humber construction market.
“The numbers do, however, underline the fact that there have been few better times for the seemingly rare breed of people that are engaging construction professionals and procuring work.
“We hope that we will see optimism in the region grow as it has in other UK regions and that regional workloads will at least stabilise.
“There are positive notes in the national workload outlook. Let's hope this points the way to regional recovery.”