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Housebuilding takes a turn for the better

House building. Library picture
House building. Library picture

The gloom is lifting from Kent's construction industry as more building projects get under way. Construction workloads in the county are now positive for the firstitime in two years, says the latest survey of the industry by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

Two per cent more chartered surveyors reported rising rather than falling workloads for the first quarter of 2010.

This compares with a net balance of 15 per cent reporting falls in the last quarter of 2009.

RICS says this positive turnaround reverses a national decline which has stretched for seven consecutive quarters.

The improvement is across the board and shows considerable sector consistency with most categories.

But expectations for profits are fairly downbeat with surveyors expecting a contraction in margins, according to RICS, though prospects for employment are said to be "still firmly in positive territory."

Amanda Gardiner, RICS London and South East director said: "The construction sector seems to be finally lifting its head above the recession parapet but the continuing lack of development finance remains a major obstacle to a sustainable recovery with surveyors still pessimistic about future prospects.

"Concerns over likely cuts in public sector capital spending programmes is another factor contributing to the cautious stance of respondents to the survey."

Meanwhile, leading house builder Countryside Properties is reporting a "post election bounce" as inquiries from buyers increase.

The company has begun building a further 250 homes across the South East, including new phases at St Mary's Island, Chatham Maritime, and Christian Fields in Gravesend.

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