Lloyds: Real estate activity returning

Real estate businesses saw a rise in output growth in April, signalling that the UK is slowly returning to normal amidst the pandemic, Lloyds Bank’s UK Recovery Tracker found.

Real estate achieved 53.6 on the tracker, with a number above 50 indicating that output is rising.

There were also slight increases for tourism and recreation businesses (51.9), as outdoor dining returns at pubs and restaurants.

However manufacturers of technology equipment (67.7) and metals and mining products (66.3) recorded the strongest output growth for the second month in a row during April.

Jeavon Lolay, head of economics and market insight, Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “The UK’s recovery seems to have moved into the fast lane. The latest lifting of lockdown restrictions will only fuel a further boost to the already rapid pace of expansion at the start of this quarter.

“It’s no surprise that business optimism for the year ahead is strongest in consumer services on hopes that the re-opening of the economy will lead to a sharp rebound in demand. However, it will also be very interesting to see how UK manufacturers address ongoing supply chain strains as concerns about inflation continue to build.”

All 14 sectors monitored by the UK Recovery Tracker reported output growth in April, up from 11 in March and for the first time since August 2018.

For 13 of the 14 UK sectors monitored, readings for anticipated output growth over the next 12 months were higher than their global peers, as the UK’s progress out of lockdown and COVID-19 vaccination programme continued to outpace other countries.

However real estate was behind the global index by this measure, largely due to offices in the US services sector reopening at a faster pace than the UK.

Scott Barton, managing director, corporate and institutional coverage, Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, added: “The pace of the UK’s recovery from COVID-19 is clearly accelerating, with all sectors now showing growth.

“While British technology manufacturers continue to lead from the front, it is particularly promising to see the tourism and leisure sector returning to growth after such a significant period of time.

“Consumer-facing businesses like pubs and restaurants have borne the brunt of COVID-19 restrictions, and will also be hopeful that the reopening continues as planned.

“Still, there has been so much dislocation in the economy that brighter recovery prospects will need to be balanced with careful business planning and nimble strategies to adapt to the changing situation.”

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