On Thursday the CLG (Communities and Local Government) published the latest set of housing figures. And they do not make for happy reading.
In the second quarter of this year, new starts stood at just a measly 21,540! That is a full 10% down on the previous quarter! The construction industry really is putting it’s foot down in the reverse gear! The peak for our housing sector was in December 2005, currently, new starts are down a whopping 54% compared to then.
We have a rapidly expanding population with the current early to mid-twenties portion of that still stuck at home, unable to get a mortgage due to over-strict lending policies brought on by the bank’s own issues. Pay is down or frozen ay levels from a few years ago and living costs are still rising faster than wages are. The current housing stock is getting full. If the situation doesn’t sort itself out soon, then we are going to have a generation that will have missed it’s opportunity to get on the property ladder. In fact, we may already be at that point now.
The paltry levels of house building are having a severe effect on the associated industries. Everyone from brickies to plasterers, plumbers to sparkies, windows manufacturers and fitters and everything in between. If houses aren’t being built, no one needs to buy the rest of the products that goes with them.
The Government is trying hard to put investment in the country to try and boost the economy. But they are putting it in the wrong places. They need to re-focus their spending plans and channel some robust amounts of money in the infrastructure of construction and really get the country building in big numbers. The population is currently straining in the existing housing stock and a few hundred thousand more houses over the next few years, rather than 20,000 every 3 months will go some to help relieve the pressure.