Further confirmation of the challenges facing the housing sector came out this week, coupled with a view that government policy may well be shifting away from the Tory heartland of home ownership.
Analysts cite a growing difference between newbuild and second-hand markets, with UK housebuilders reporting robust demand.“The new-build market is in rude health, but second hand has been slow,” said Gavin Jago, Peel Hunt. “Housebuilders are willing sellers but the second-hand market is different — if you get a slowdown in activity, it can be a vicious circle.” The Help to Buy scheme, which supports purchasers of new-build homes up to £600,000, was helping this sector. Recently, UK groups Persimmon and Bellway reported resilient trading, with sales ahead of last year. Taylor Wimpey's order book was also ahead of a year ago. Countryside CEO Ian Sutcliffe puts his company’s resilience down to its partnership division, accounting for around half the group’s revenues “Government sentiment seems to be moving away from ownership and towards broader housing delivery and mixed tenure,” he said.