Briefing – 26th November 2018

Countrywide has announced that it enjoyed “another year of strong growth” – published 21st November. It stated total completions were up 27% as measured against the same period in 2017. During that period the housebuilder confirmed a total of 4,295 home completions. It also declared that its overall average private selling price reduced some 7% to £402,000 when compared against last year. It attributed that to the company’s focus on “price-points appropriate to local owner occupiers,” and a move away from London and the south east. Housebuilder

Rightmove has reported an earlier start to the traditional December price cooling, with prices for new properties coming to the market some 1.7% down. The property finding portal went on to say though that the cooling of the property market in price terms appears, overall, to be leading more buyers back to the market. Sunday Express

The Nationwide has said that the stock of houses is at an all-time low. Their Chief Executive Joe Garner has highlighted Brexit uncertainty as being partly to blame for inhibiting investment and reducing activity in the UK market. He quoted “it’s important to distinguish between the mortgage market and the housing market. House prices remain relatively stable, [we’re] not predicting any major change to that, but the available stock of housing in the market is pretty much at an all-time low.  “[There’s] pent up demand with relatively few properties on the market.” Telegraph

The Building Societies Association (BSA) has stated that in its opinion, the strict affordability rules brought in after the financial problems of 2008-2012 are now being applied too rigidly, effectively making it difficult or impossible for young people to get approved for mortgages they can afford. The BSA has called for others to join it in pushing the regulatory authorities to relax these rules in a bid to help first-time buyers. If that isn’t done, the association believes many people will become permanently caught in the rental trap. Daily Mail

Figures released by the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government show just 6,463 homes were built in England for social rent in 2017-18, down from almost 30,000 a decade ago. This has taken place while over 1 million families are on housing waiting lists. Guardian

Analysts have stated that Interserves’s debts could shortly peak at £800million – near to their facility limits. Construction News

It has been announced that developer Hub and associated investor Smedvig have received approval for a 424 home mixed-use plan which is being developed close to Maidenhead’s train station. Construction News

The Rt. Hon Claire Perry MP, of the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy has made a speech affirming the government’s determination to press ahead with the installation of smart meters in houses. Her statement claims that once widespread installation has been completed around 2030, £1.2 billion per year should be taken off the nation’s energy bills. UK GOV

Direct Line for Business has published statistics indicating that the construction industry experiences the highest percentage of sick days arising from accidents at work. Across the whole industry, workers took 4.3 million sick days between 2014 and 2017. Over half a million of those were the result of an accident in the workplace. On average, employers lose 1.4 million days of workers’ productivity every year for sickness reasons. The construction industry lost 392,000 work days between 2014 and 2017, reported to be due to employees self-certifying illness caused or made worse by their employment. Stress, depression or anxiety are the top-quoted illnesses keeping people off work, with in excess of 12.5 million days being lost by more than half a million workers in the 2016-17 accounting year alone. Construction Media