More developers sign up to cladding remediation pledge, as apprenticeship starts improve

House prices reach new high as market momentum continues

Halifax published their house price index for March this week, revealing that the monthly growth of 1.4% was the highest in six months.

As a result, the average property price has reached a new record high of £282,753 – a rise of £43,577 in two years.

However, the bank cautioned that the ongoing cost of living squeeze would likely slow the rate of house price growth this year.

Buyers are therefore dealing with the prospect of higher interest rates and a higher cost of living. With affordability metrics already extremely stretched, these factors should lead to a slowdown in house price inflation over the next year.

RUSSELL GALLEY, MANAGING DIRECTOR, HALIFAX

Countryside to lower cost base, and join others in signing pledge

Developer Countryside Partnerships have identified a number of areas of improvement, after a site-by-site review following the departure of CEO Iain McPherson in January.

In an update to the city, interim CEO John Martin revealed that two unprofitable regions would be merged into neighbouring divisions, whilst their commitment to MMC manufacturing would be reviewed.

Meanwhile, the group joined Crest Nicholson, Barratt Developments, Bellway and Vistry Group in signing up to the Building Safety Pledge to fund retrofit works to unsafe cladding on buildings over 11m.

The ever-growing list of signatures already included large developers Redrow, Persimmon and Taylor Wimpey. The Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities has asked a total of 53 developers to sign the pledge.


Construction output continues as apprenticeship levels improve

The latest Purchasing Managers Index for March registered 59.1 in March, unchanged from February; however, sentiment has softened amidst concerns over inflation and the war in Ukraine.

Published by CIPS and S&P Global, who acquired IHS Markit, the continuing industry output was driven primarily by commercial work, with residential work losing momentum in the month.

In addition, only 48% of survey respondents expected a rise in business activity in the coming year; the weakest sentiment since October 2020.

Meanwhile, apprenticeships starts within the construction sector showed tentative signs of improving, with figures for the first two quarters of the 2021/22 academic year higher than the previous two years, according to the Department for Education.

This follows the number of apprenticeship starts declining between 2017/18 and 2020/21; but DfE figures show 20,500 people taking up an apprenticeship between August 2021 and January 2022.


CLC drops site safety guidelines

The Construction Leadership Council has lifted restrictive Covid guidelines, following the Government issuing their Living with Covid plan.

The rules, which included staggering break times and enforced mask wearing in small spaces, were first published in March 2020.

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