I was interested to read this latest article by Knight Frank pointing out a perceived mismatch between gloomy headlines and uplifting data. This included the number of tower cranes adorning the London skyline.
One barometer I've always used is the number of tower cranes I can count from Blackfriars bridge on my morning commute to the office. I counted 34 this morning stretching from Charing Cross in the west to the 'Walkie-Talkie' in the east. I did not even look south or include the cranes on the pontoons on the Thames. This count of 34 cranes compared to the 2 (yes, two) I counted back in the early 1990s when I was a school boy and mortgage rates were a little higher than 2%.
The number of tower cranes may not tell you everything about the health of the construction sector, however, this morning's count of 34 suggests the sector (in London at least) continues to be much more active than it has been in the past.
Going forward, I will keep counting the cranes as I walk across Blackfriars bridge in the hope that they drop to single figures again.
1. There are a lot of cranes – London has gone crazy and cranes don’t lie. It turns out they do.