Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

'Back Whole Sector, Not Just Student Property' CONSTRUCTION

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

'Back Whole Sector, Not Just Student Property' CONSTRUCTION

Article excerpt

Byline: ROBERT GIBSON robert.gibson@ncjmedia.com

ACTION must be taken to encourage North East property investors to back the region's residential sector, not just student accommodation, a construction boss has said.

Mark Kearney of Keepmoat, who chairs the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors' North East Quantity Surveying Group, made the suggestion after a new survey from the organisation showed growth in the region's private housing sector slowed in the first quarter of the year.

The slowdown has come despite Government promises that 200,000 new homes will be delivered by 2020, but while a growing number of student blocks are under construction in the region. The RICS UK Construction Market Survey showed: | only 45% of those working in the North East's private housing sector reported a rise in growth, rather than a fall, over the first quarter, compared with 50% in the last quarter of 2015; | across all sectors, only 34% of the North East's construction professionals saw workloads rise, rather than fall, compared with 43% the same time last year; | confidence in the outlook for the region's construction sector has dropped, with only 38% of respondents expecting workloads to increase over the coming 12 months. This is a considerable drop from last year's figure of 75%.

Mr Kearney said: "The North East has historically received a lower proportional share of public subsidy for affordable housing. The uncertainty over Government policy, the impact of rent reductions and future funding streams have led to many projects being put on hold pending the outcome.

"The recent publication of the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) Prospectus for the Affordable Homes Programme 2016-21 provides a greater degree of clarity, with PS4.7bn nationally available, but is very focussed on shared ownership. …

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