UK construction and property
- Housing market | Housebuilders saw an unexpected rally in share prices as significant concerns over house prices abated. Nationwide reported that house prices rose between March and April, after falling for seven consecutive months.
- Housing reforms | Michael Gove is to speed up a number of reforms in the housing market. This week will see the publication of the renters reform bill which will end “no-fault evictions”. Changes to the leasehold system will be introduced in autumn and are expected to cap the amount of yearly ground rent that leaseholders can charge.
- Output | The S&P Global/CIPS Purchasing Managers’ Index showed growth from 50.7 in March to 51.1 in April. The growth was driven by commercial building and a resilience in civil engineering. Housebuilding reported its steepest decline in almost three years.
• Activity | The latest RICS survey suggests a rebound in construction activity in Q1 2023. Credit conditions were highlighted as a challenge, but there are early signs of this easing. Private commercial work has improved, private housing remains negative, but infrastructure continues to be the most positive.
- Innovation | The British Property Federation and the UK PropTech Association merged, with many expecting the new relationship to drive innovation which will help the industry tackle some of the big challenges it is facing.
- Net zero | A report by Barbour ABI concludes that new regulations for energy efficiency could cause the closure of office buildings, negatively impacting town and city centres. It warns that current pressures, and the lack of levelling up funding could encourage landlords not to invest to meet new obligations. Analysis of planning applications for office repair, maintenance and improvement shows that they are still 40% lower than pre-Covid levels despite increased regulatory levels.
- New house building registrations with the National House Building Council are 40% lower in Q1 2023 than in Q1 2022. New home completions were 9% lower as builders focused on finishing existing plans rather than starting new ones.