Public housing has been the fastest growing sector of the construction market in the past year, new data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has shown.

It said new public housing output stood at £404m in March 2017, an increase of 11.4% on the position a year earlier, and of 4.3% in the first quarter of this year against the same period in 2016.

However, repairs and maintenance work in public housing fell sharply in the same period. It was worth £529m in March, down by 13.5% against March 2016 and by 3.6% in the first quarter against the position a year earlier.

Overall, construction output was worth £11.5bn in March, up by 2.4% on the position a year before, but a monthly fall of 0.7% on February 2016.

New public housing followed a similar pattern between February and March this year, with new build up by 7.6% but repairs and maintenance down by 1.9%.

The ONS noted that new housing of all kinds grew strongly in March, while repairs and maintenance “provided the main downward pressure on construction output”

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