New Build Registrations Reach Highest Levels Since 2007

Builders and developers registered their highest number of new homes in more than a decade in the second quarter of 2019.

According to the three-month data, provided by the National House Building Council, over 43,000 new homes were registered between April 2019 and June 2019.

Overall, the 43,438 homes registered marks a 12% increase on the same period last year where 38,937 new homes were registered.

The 43,525 registered homes in the fourth quarter of 2007 was the last time these figures were beaten.

These figures seem to echo the sentiment of the State of Trade Survey 2019, released by the Federation of Master Builders. They found that 27% of SME builders and developers have experienced higher workloads in the second quarter of the year; this had increased from just over a fifth (22%) in the opening quarter of 2019.

However, Brexit is still playing a key role in construction at the moment and 21% of the respondents were being forced to decrease their employment levels with future work currently uncertain.

Only 37% of SME builders feel optimistic about the near future with so much riding on how the political landscape changes in 2019. This figure has fallen slightly from 41% in the opening quarter.

Steve Wood, NHBC Chief Executive, said:

“It is great to see this sign of confidence in new-build housing and that the positive start to the year has continued into the summer.

“The combination of the growing private rental sector and on-going investment into the UK market is helping to boost new home registrations.”

Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB, commented:

“Years of Brexit uncertainty have resulted in construction bosses starting to change how they employ their workforce. To ensure their firms are ready for any economic shock waves later this year, employers are reducing their number of direct employees and relying more on sub-contractors who are easier to shed if work dries up. The construction industry has always used a significant proportion of subbies but the fact that direct employment is decreasing, points to Brexit nerves among construction bosses. This is the reality on the ground of what happens when years of uncertainty are inflicted on the construction industry. Furthermore, apprenticeship training has taken a hit as construction bosses are reluctant to take on young people when they can’t be sure of future projects going ahead.

“Worse still, the fear is that using more subbies can lead to a drop in the quality of our builds. Direct employees, who are well-known to their firm, are much more likely to follow the ethos of their company and build to the right standard. If construction bosses are trying to protect their businesses by employing more subbies, they might not always know how good these subbies are. Re-balancing the workforce may seem like a good idea at the time, but it could lead to reputation-damaging mistakes. If a downturn is on the horizon, reputation is everything and construction employers can scrutinise the quality of their workforce far more easily when they’re on the books.”

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