As the UK’s departure from the EU gets ever closer the pressure on house builders sales rates increases. Anecdotally, senior figures have told me that whilst footfall is still good, sales rates are at the bottom end of what is expected at this time of year and sales directors are using all the tools available to them to keep closing deals.
Keen to avoid snowballing a drop in market confidence, all the housebuilders reporting half or full year figures since Christmas are putting out a particularly positive narrative.
Gleeson Homes’ statement illustrates this perfectly: “Our target market remains strong and our customers have maintained their confidence. We do not see any signs of customer caution.”
John Tutte, CEO of Redrow was more specific: “The market fell away at the end of November into December about the time of the (Brexit) meaningful vote so we didn’t generate the leads in December which impacted January. But there has been improvement into early February – overall we are about 6% down and if you’d offered me that in December I would have taken it.”
The good news is that if buyers are delaying a buying decision there may be some pent up demand coming to market later in 2019 – if we come out of Brexit economically unscathed!