Publisher Lesley Mayo

James Parker


A recent blog from financial broker KIS Finance titled ‘the real reasons why we aren’t building enough new homes’ was interesting being from a financial perspective, but also highly relevant. That’s the case despite, as ever, the absence of practical fixes to the problem.

They said that it was not about affordability, as affordable homes are selling, and funding isn’t in itself the answer. The blog instead pinpointed a failure of the housebuilding industry to fully recover from the last recession and provide the people needed to build, as reason no. 1 as to why the numbers are not being delivered.

With demand for trades having been ‘decimated’ following the credit crunch, and thousands leaving the industry, the firm said there were now too few people entering to make up the gap. With jobs across all sectors currently relatively plentiful, staff are not automatically looking to construction, and EU workers are already leaving in droves since the Brexit referendum and the triggering of Article 50.

In order to get the staff, said KIS Finance, “the roles will have to be more attractive, which will push the cost of building up further.” This could be a salutary lesson to many readers, or it may be something you are already experiencing. The rising costs of materials, hiked further by needing to increase supply, is another constraint.


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Whatever the case, where does this confidence come from, especially at the middle end of the spectrum, and given the shocks to the sector from the last recession? The bottom line is that its property developer clients are telling broker KIS they are reluctant to commit to any new ventures that “could be risky,” due to future uncertainty – mainly, it says, caused by Brexit. How does this equate with a ‘good outcome’ being likely, given that the industry is already struggling to meet demand?


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Greenwich Peninsula © Reynaers

Sajid Javid’s fleeting hint in October that we might be seeing a return to Government borrowing to invest in housing was slapped down quickly by the Chancellor as he prepares what will no doubt be a risk-averse pre-Brexit Budget. With an industry failing to deliver and likely financial turmoil ahead, isn’t it time everybody got real?

James Parker

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At the same time, according to a recent YouGov survey, construction sector firms were at the bottom of the pile when it came to taking measures to prepare for Brexit (28 per cent compared to 37 per cent in financial services). Of the “middle market businesses” surveyed, a hefty 60 per cent saying they were confident of a good outcome from Brexit, against an average of 45 per cent across all other sectors, but is this widely representative of construction?

Managing Editor James Parker

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