January 30, 2018 / 12:12 AM / 23 days ago

Residential projects boost construction in British cities - survey

(Reuters) - British cities are reporting record levels of construction activity as confidence in prospects for city centre residential development stays strong, a industry survey said on Tuesday.

The Deloitte Real Estate Crane Survey UK showed nearly 17,000 residential units were now being built in Belfast, Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester.

“Residential development stands out this year. The surveyed cities have shown a marked increase in housing development, in some cases doubling activity from the previous year,” said Simon Bedford, partner and regional head at Deloitte Real Estate.

The data follows an assessment by the National House-Building Council, which said British construction firms had their best year in decade for starting work on new homes in 2017 and said the outlook for 2018 was positive.

The National House-Building Council said builders registered plans to start 160,606 new homes in 2017, up 6 percent on 2016.

Prime Minister Theresa May wants construction of new homes to rise to 300,000 a year to tackle a housing shortage.

British house-building halved after property prices fell by about a fifth in the financial crisis. It has only risen slowly since, helped by government support for first-time buyers when by purchase newly built homes.

The Deloitte survey, which included development in Dublin for the first time, said Ireland’s capital had more than four million square feet of office space under construction, as well as 3,528 residential units.

“Sentiment towards city centre development is buoyant across all sectors, but it is perhaps the residential private rented sector that is the stand out for 2017,” Bedford said.

Reporting by Radhika Rukmangadhan in Bengaluru; Editing by Edmund Blair

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