Andy Sommerville, Director at Search Acumen, comments on today’s ONS Construction Monthly figures:
“After a frenetic year in the housing market, stock levels are severely depleted as a result of more than 12 months of exceptional demand. This imbalance and the sheer level of demand kick-started the construction sector earlier this year, with developers keen to revive stalled projects as confidence rose along with house prices.
“While house prices remain strong, we have seen a dip from the peaks witnessed earlier this year, which can be largely attributed to very low stock levels and the phasing out of the SDLT holiday. These are likely to be the factors in the slow down we are seeing in construction, which is also struggling to manage serious shortages of labour and raw materials resulting from the long-term impacts of Brexit compounded by delays and disruption from the pandemic.
“To be clear, despite these factors giving consumers and developers some pause for thought, the market is still extremely active as buyers around the UK look to find new properties to facilitate the kind of lifestyle they foresee for themselves in a changing post-pandemic world. These trends are likely to drive supply and demand in the housing market for some time to come, and this is reflected by a number of interesting developments in the housing space over recent months – including, banks increasingly entering the build-to-rent sector as well as the rise of commercial to residential conversions.
“In a market which is set to be active in the months and years ahead, we need a concerted push towards adopting new technologies and innovations to drive efficiencies in processes throughout out the property lifecycle, from financing, to property design and development, to sales and conveyancing. With efficiencies will come important cost and time savings which will improve margins, valuations and pricing, support demand and improve customer satisfaction. We have seen impressive adoption of technology over the past 18 months by property professionals and strongly encourage the spirit of innovation to continue, especially as we have seen clearly through the pandemic that many traditional human-led processes aren’t fit for purpose. The benefits, from speed to efficiency to better client services, are necessary if we are to create a market fit for the future.”