Housebuilding output grows as Clark presses on with fire safety levy

Private housebuilding surges as industry proves resilient

The Office for National Statistics has revealed that private housebuilding output rose to the highest monthly figure in May, according to their latest report.

A 7.2% rise in output in the month saw the sector generate £3.51bn in May – an 11.3% rise than the equivalent figure in 2021.

The figures will come as a relief to the industry, after the first four months of the year saw housebuilding output stay broadly flat.

Meanwhile, the June 2022 RICS Residential Market Survey reported that house prices continued to rise in the month, despite weakening demand due to a shortage of stock.

However, the report found that surveyors expected the housing market to cool, whilst a lack of supply continues to underpin price rises.

At the national level, the latest net balance for new buyer enquiries slipped to -27%, down from a reading of -9% previously. As such, this marks the second consecutive month in which the survey’s headline measure of demand has been in negative territory.


New Housing Minister appointed, as Clark continues with fire safety levy

Marcus Jones has joined the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities as Housing Minister, following the appointment of Greg Clark as Housing Secretary.

Clark and Jones are reported to have communicated with the Home Builders Federation this week, re-establishing a connection which had been severed by previous Secretary Michael Gove.

HBF chairman Stewart Baseley also wrote to Clark in the hours following his appointment, asking him to reverse the proposed £3bn levy on all planning permissions to pay for fire safety remediation works.

However, Clark has refused to U-turn on the controversial proposal; but did state that he wanted to create a “productive partnership between housebuilders, the Government, local councils and housing associations.”

Meanwhile, the Government has opened its second brownfield fund, with councils able to apply for a share of the £180m over two years.

The Brownfield Land Release Fund is reported to create 17,600 new homes and 54,000 jobs over the next four years.

Barratt and Cala post strong results, as Countryside chairman resigns

Barratt Homes announced this week that they were handing staff an extra £1,000 each to help with the cost of living crisis, as they posted a trading update to the City.

The UK’s largest housebuilder reported a pre-tax profit of between £1,050m and £1,060m over the six months to the end of June.

Meanwhile, Cala Group increased the number of homes it built in the first half of 2021, amidst rising turnover and profit.

Over the six months to the end of June, Cala completed 1,527 homes – an increase of 3% on the 1,479 homes built before.

Pre-tax profit reached £98m from £77.6m, on an increased turnover of £688m from £600m.

But Countryside reported this week that their chairman, John Martin, has resigned with immediate effect.

The news comes as the partnerships housebuilder searches for a buyer, in the wake of a major profit warning early in the new year.

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