The North West construction sector is showing the most positive signs of recovery since the downturn began in 2007, according to the latest RICS market survey in the region.
During the second quarter of the year a net balance of 20% more surveyors in the region reported increases in workloads than decreases, the most positive reading in seven years.
While consistent reductions in activity means projects are still thin on the ground, RICS suggests that the worst may now be over.
Housing, commercial and infrastructure are among the sectors in the region that benefited from increased construction activity during the second quarter of the year.
Encouragingly, 56% more respondents to the RICS survey predict workloads will continue to rise rather than fall once more.
Surveyors in the North West say they are still cautious about recruiting more staff but anticipate improved profit margins during the current quarter.
RICS Chief Economist Simon Rubinsohn said: “It is clearly good news that the amount of construction taking place across the North West seems to have turned a corner.
“But this modest improvement comes after a long period of contraction and many businesses in the sector are still struggling to keep their heads above water.
“Securing finance for development is still a big challenge and, despite the Government’s attempt to revamp the planning system, the feedback we are getting suggests that this issue also remains a major obstacle to getting projects under way.”