Timber reaches UK demand levels, as sales surge in September

Timber shortages ease, but deliveries remain volatile

Good news: there is now enough timber in the country to meet demand, according to the Timber Trade Federation. However, thanks to the ongoing shortage of HGV drivers, transport of material to sites may still prove to be a challenge.

More than seven million cubic metres of timber were imported into the UK between January and July 2021, according to the TTP, amidst rapid rises in cost. Structural softwood, in particular, experienced rose by 55%, 65% and 88% in May, June and July when compared to the same period in 2020.

Meanwhile, builders’ merchant sales in Great Britain began to ease in August, down 8% on the previous month. However, sales remained 23% higher than August 2020, and 18.2% higher than August 2019, with timber and joinery products revealed as the fastest growing category.

However, whilst material supply seems to be improving, small and medium-sized housebuilders are continuing to face severe challenges. Research by the Federation of Master Builders revealed that 63% of SME builders say that they are limited in their ability to deliver homes due a lack of available and viable land, with 62% saying that they continue to struggle with material shortages.

And 53% of those surveyed say that they are struggling to find available workers; a nod to the worsening skills shortage within the industry.

Sales and registrations rise as the nation heads into Autumn

Figures published by HMRC have revealed that the number of homes bought and sold in Britain rose by two-thirds in September when compared to August, with almost 161,000 property transactions in the month.

These figures also revealed a 68% increase when compared to September 2020, with experts believing that buyers are seeking to get ahead of a potential rise in mortgage rates.

Meanwhile, private registrations increased by 43% in Q3 2021 when compared to the same period in 2020, due to a report issued by NHBC.

During the period, 26,054 homes were registed in the sector, with overall registrations (including rental homes) were up by 14% in the period.

Strong forecasts for Crest and Bellway

Crest Nicholson has announced an “ambitious growth strategy” to increase completions to more than 4,200 by 2026, whilst revealing new climate change targets.

The housebuilder announced plans for strong growth in the forthcoming years, with three new divisions being established between FY24 and FY26.

Bellway also revealed that it is expected to generate around £1.25bn in pre-tax profit over the next two financial years.

Britain’s fourth largest housebuilder also announced that completions in the year to end July 2020 were up to 10,138 from 7,522 in the previous year.

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