The total value of construction contract awards in November reached £4.9bn ($6.6bn) based on a three-month rolling average, up just 0.2% on the previous month.
However, this figure represented a 9.1% decline compared to November 2019, published data showed.
Contract award numbers decreased by 17.9% in November 2020 to 715 compared with 871 in October. Annual comparisons showed a 16.4% decrease compared to 855 contract awards for November 2019, the Economic & Construction Market Review from industry analysts Barbour ABI revealed.
London was the leading region with 16.8% of awards and a total of 77 projects, with the North West following only slightly behind with a share of 16.3% of awards and a total of 98 projects.
The third largest region in November was the South East with 13.9% of awards.
Analysis by sector indicates that residential maintained lead status last month accounting for 38.9% of awards. With 19.1% of awards, infrastructure was the second largest sector, whilst commercial and retail held a share of 16.3%, coming in third.
Tom Hall, chief economist at Barbour ABI and AMA Research, said that “since the first UK-wide lockdown, the construction industry has returned but at lower levels than previously”.
“The rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine has raised everyone’s hopes of a return to normality at some point in 2021. But in the meantime we will have to manage many downside risks: a thin Brexit deal at the very best, higher unemployment and continuing movement restrictions over winter and spring.”
The news comes as UK construction firms saw growth in trade accelerate in November, with new orders at their highest since 2014 and output rising for a sixth month in a row.
A leading business survey showed a rising proportion of building companies reporting higher trade compared to October. Firms said Britain’s housing market boom and rising client confidence in civil engineering boosted the ongoing rebound from the collapse in activity seen earlier this year.
Only 16% of firms expect declining trade over the year ahead, according to new purchasing managers’ index (PMI) data.
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