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Regional focus: Midlands

The East and West Midlands have a new work construction output value of close to £10bn.

This value is slightly above that in 2012, but below 2010/11 values. During 2013 both regions experienced output growth, driven primarily by private housing, up by close to 30 per cent.

In the East Midlands, Help to Buy and other forms of state-assisted house purchase such as shared equity now account for 35 per cent of private new build, while in the West Midlands at least 40 per cent of private housing sales are reliant upon some form of government assistance.

This demonstrates the importance of the public purse in the provision of private housing. Alongside higher borrowing costs and stricter lending criteria, private housing is expected to slow in both regions.

Another feature of both regions has been a pick-up in industrial building, with both regions benefiting from an upturn in warehouse and factory building.

Conversely, commercial building seems to lack any sign of a marked upturn, with office markets in particular still very weak. Office orders currently total around £250m, compared with just below £600m in 2008.

There is, however, an active and strong office-to-residential conversion market, especially in the East Midlands.

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