February 5, 2019 / 12:03 AM / 6 months ago

Construction booming in regional UK cities - Deloitte

FILE PHOTO: Workers stand on scaffolding at a residential building in London, Britain, March 7, 2016. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - Construction activity in four regional cities in Britain is at a record high, including a flurry of building projects in Manchester, despite uncertainty about Brexit, accounting firm Deloitte said on Tuesday.

Deloitte said its Real Estate Crane Survey, covering Leeds, Birmingham, Manchester and Belfast, showed sustained or increased activity across sectors including offices, hotels, retail, education and student housing.

Manchester had 78 sites under construction — more than the U.S. cities of Seattle, Los Angeles and Chicago as measured by Deloitte’s North American Crane Index.

“To have construction figures this healthy is somewhat of a surprise given a myriad of market uncertainties,” Deloitte Real Estate partner and regional head Simon Bedford said.

The Deloitte survey struck a more upbeat note than the IHS Markit/CIPS UK Purchasing Managers’ Index for the construction sector which on Monday showed the slowest growth in the industry in January since the winter weather of early 2018.

Bedford said big businesses were looking to build support operations in regional cities while small and medium-sized regional businesses were continuing to grow.

Reporting by Madeleine Gandhi; Editing by William Schomberg and Catherine Evans

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