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Construction Downturn: South West

The South-west has, so far, been more resilient than most regions. Surprising strength in the office and retail sectors during the first seven months of the year have helped bolster starts in the region, with the forecast up 7 per cent.

Private housing starts have also outperformed other regions this year, although these will fall back sharply in coming months. Glenigan estimates that the value of construction starts will increase by 7 per cent this year.

Despite a reasonably strong start to the year the wider economic turmoil will invariably impact construction prospects in the region. Between January and July 2008 planning approvals have fallen by 20 per cent compared to the same period last year.

Much of that decline has been driven by the falls in private housing and retail approvals.

A large increase in the value of social housing approvals may help offset declines in other sectors.