With the UK’s biggest house builders concerned about falling demand due to high rates and soaring inflation Darlington Building Society head of intermediary distribution Chris Blewitt says, “whenever you get a period like this, the biggest thing that could come out of it is innovation”.
Speaking on this week’s Lenders Live panel hosted by Knowledge Bank, Blewitt explains: “We’ve been in a cycle in the new build sector with Help to Buy doing what it was intended to do but with that coming to an end soon, I’m keen to see what the output of this lower demand is and what builders decide to do to stem that flow.”
With multiple other schemes available such as Deposit Unlock and Help to Build, Blewitt says there is “plenty of opportunity to go after”.
He comments: “There’s a need for lenders like ourselves and many others to work with the builders to find out what support they do and what can we do as an industry to help because the bigger concern is a supply shortage.”
“If these people don’t build the houses, we have got a problem. I think we need to work together to combat that.”
Blewitt’s comments come after Taylor Wimpey, which has more than £4.2bn annual revenue, announced it had reduced its house-building plans following weaker home sales.
Meanwhile, Persimmon, which generated £3.6bn in revenue last year, has also reported falling sales, warning that it will have an impact on profit margins next year.
Saffron Building Society head of business development Tony Hall says the concerns are “clearly a spanner in the works” but he suggests it “has happened before and will happen again”.
Hall explains: “There’s always going to be positive times and negative times, we’re now going into a bit of a negative time.”
“There’s no surprise that house builders are struggling to sell houses with the cost-of-living crisis, interest rate increases and everything else at all-time highs.”
“It is a concern for those wanting to buy a house as we have under-delivered on house building for decades. It’s not a new problem, it’s just the latest twist in an age-old problem that we need to solve as a country, but we’ve got some way to go.”
Our Mortgage Broker managing director Akhil Mair says: “Developers need to be speaking to local councils to understand what their requirements are and then speak to the central government.”
Mair comments: “It comes back to the central government helping developers build more properties, we have a legacy issue around developing properties.”
“We have an annual target of 300,000 and we’re well away from that, but developers need to be incentivised, whether that’s through Help to Build or Help to Buy, the cost of materials has also gone up, so they’ve got to then factor that into the sale prices. Something has to give, and everyone needs to play their part for the best of both sides.”