| LONDON, April 27
LONDON, April 27 A measure of house-building
plans in Britain hit a 10-year high in early 2017 and demand for
commercial property improved too, industry surveys showed on
Thursday, easing concerns about the impact of last year's Brexit
vote on the real estate market.
Registrations with the National House-Building Council
(NHBC) - payments by homebuilders for insurance on projects
before construction starts - rose 17 percent compared with the
first three months of 2017 to 42,470.
That marked the strongest calendar quarter since 2007.
Housing is a hot political topic as Britain gears up for a
June 8 national election with both main political parties
pledging to help people struggling to buy homes. Property prices
have risen strongly in recent years as demand for housing
The NHBC said 157,898 new homes were registered for
construction in the financial year ending in March, up 4 percent
on 2015/16 but still 1,000 shy of the long-run historical
The housing registration figures were boosted by a recovery
in London, which struggled through 2016, and by the affordable
A separate survey from the Royal Institution of Chartered
Surveyors (RICS) showed demand for commercial property,
particularly in the industrial sector, picked up during the
"Significantly, the forward-looking indicators are also
proving relatively resilient although it would not be a surprise
if activity slows somewhat ahead of the forthcoming general
election," Simon Rubinsohn, RICS chief executive, said.
There were signs of weakness in parts of the United Kingdom
facing the greatest political uncertainty.
Scotland was the only part of the UK where RICS' headline
gauge of investor demand was negative, with property surveyors
citing the prospect of another independence referendum as a
And foreign investors took fright in Northern Ireland, with
doubts about its future following Brexit compounded by the
recent collapse of the semi-autonomous Belfast government.
Some 42 percent of surveyors in Northern Ireland reported
enquiries from businesses looking to relocate because of
uncertainty about the UK's future relationship with the EU,
compared with 16 percent across the UK as a whole.
(Editing by William Schomberg)