BLOG : Building confidence bit by bit

01 Jul 2009

 

One of the problems with an entrepreneurial industry such as private sector housebuilding is that the government can not just throw money at it to get it going again.


Calls to help out the industry are more complex in our sector and there is not one revival plan  which sits solely in the gift of the Treasury, the Homes and Communities Agency, the CLG or anyone else.


For the private housebuilding industry to thrive it needs confidence - confidence from customers, confidence from developers, confidence from land buyers. The industry needs an environment in which land can be successfully traded, new homes built to the appropriate quality and standard and then sold for a price that reflects  the input of the developer.


Until developers have confidence that the price is right then new homes will not be built by the private sector in the numbers required.


I have been arguing for a while that a recovery in the market will not come quickly. That only time will heal the industry's wounds, because confidence has to be rebuilt piece by piece. I argued in my editorial in March that the recovery would need to follow a process which starts with visitor interest, which becomes potential sales as customers recognise it is time to buy. Then mortgage availability needs to ease and the market will grow again.


We are in the first stages of that process. A combination of factors is helping build interest and confidence - house prices are stabilising, builders are starting to build again, new initiatives are being formulated to help customers buy their new home.


And the government is playing its part. The announcement that more funds will be available for the Kickstart programme to unlock stalled housing sites helps improve the mood of the industry and rebuild its confidence.


We are getting there - slowly. Confidence is returning. There are still actions that the government could take to make the environment better - pushing the banks on mortgage terms would be one, addressing the regulation burden that is making sites unviable is another.


A bit more action on those and we will see the entrepreneuirial spirit back in housebuilding.

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Ben Roskrow's previous blogs

A question of interpretation? - Jan 2017

Why is the communities secretary convinced the industry is landbanking despite evidence to the contrary? It is a damaging accusation that has consequences, argues Ben Roskrow

 

Holding our breath post Brexit - Sep 2016

Ben Roskrow looks at the phoney war following the EU vote and argues it is too early to assess the full impact of the Brexit decision. But it is a case of "so far, so good" for most builders and the outlook may yet be favourable 

 

Life after the Brexit vote - Jun 2016

Ben Roskrow accepts that the industry is in for a bumpy ride following the vote for the UK to leave the EU, but the fundamentals are still strong - we need new homes, so the future remains bright

 

A time of change for the housing industry - Apr 2016

Ben Roskrow says that the changes introduced over the past few months by the government are now starting to play out in the industry - and the effect was clear to see at the recent HBF Policy Conference

 

New homes supply won't solve our housing challenge on its own - Mar 2016

There are timely reminders that the housing crisis will not be solved by the UK private sector housebuilding industry alone. Ben Roskrow argues that everyone has a role to play 

 

Danger ahead for industry - Nov 2015

The government and the opposition has thrown down the gauntlet to the industry to "get on and build". Explaining why this might not happen overnight could be a challenge for the industry, says Ben Roskrow

 

New skills needed to maintain quality - Apr 2015

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Happy days ahead for politicos - Feb 2015

The HBF Policy Conference in March will feature the Conservative housing minister, his Labour shadow and the LibDem housing spokesman - signs that election fever is on us and, as Ben Roskrow says, housing has a big role to play

 

What's in store in 2015? - Dec 2014

Ben Roskrow looks ahead to 2015, an election year of course. But what if there were two elections next year, as in 1974? What would that uncertainty do to the market and the economy

 

Our transfer window never closes - Sep 2014

Housebuilder's annual industry SWOT analysis reveals that skills shortages on site and in the office are the biggest threat to growth. Ben Roskrow says that the industry has a big job on to tackle this lack of talent

 

Our Awards reflect an industry of innovation - Jul 2014

The finalists have been announced for the Housebuilder Awards and the winners revealed for the Housebuilder Product Awards. Ben Roskrow argues that these Awards help the industry innovate and reward those who go the extra mile

 

Election countdown begins at HBF conference - Apr 2014

Housing minister Kris Hopkins and shadow housing minister Emma Reynolds laid out their vision for housing at the recent HBF Policy Conference. It seems the election campaign is already underway, says Ben Roskrow

 

Giving new homes a fair hearing - Jan 2014

Ben Roskrow despairs of the anti-developer tone of much of the media interest in the housebuilding industry, but finds solace in Kirsty and Phil on Location, Location, Location

 

Government delight as builders build - Sep 2013

The government has pinned its colours to increasing housebuilding - so it will be delighted, says Ben Roskrow, that the new Housing Market Intelligence Report launched on October 9 reveals the top builders are building more

 

The sun's shining - make hay - Jul 2013

Ben Roskrow, risking a role as a forecaster against his better judgment, says that the period up to the next election will be an excellent one for the housing market. After that though....

 

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The Help to Buy scheme has been dubbed "moronic" as detractors say it will fuel more boom and bust in the housing market. But Ben Roskrow argues that the signs are that the equity part of the initiative is working well

 

How many new housing starts in 2018? - Apr 2013

At a recent housing debate, not one member of the audience thought we would be building 150,000 homes a year by 2018. Ben Roskrow wonders whether the government is aware of such pessimism

 

New investors rewarded by Budget boost - Mar 2013

A new wave of US and European private equity funds have entered the UK housebuilding sector, judging that the time is right to invest. Ben Roskrow says that the Budget will have helped these funds believe they have backed the right horse

 

Replacing the rungs on the Broken Ladder - Feb 2013

Ben Roskrow says that despite having their detractors, government initiatives to ease the mortgage market are starting to gain momentum and at present are the best hope to tackle the housing crisis

 

A flying start to 2013 - Jan 2013

The new homes debate has lost no momentum going into 2013 thanks to the intervention of planning minister Nick Boles, says Ben Roskrow. And Boles' skewering of Sir Simon Jenkins on Newsnight is an early contender for best moment of the year

 

Conflicting views of a challenging market - Nov 2012

There is no easy answer to the classic question: "So, how's the housing market going?" Some may say it's going well, says Ben Roskrow, others call it grim. It depends who you are, what you do and where you operate

 

HMI charts the vagaries of the industry - Oct 2012

The Housing Market Intelligence conference on October 3 was the tenth staging of the housebuilding industry's favourite event. Ben Roskrow notes how the themes of each previous conference allow us to chart the fortunes of the industry at a glance

 

Affordable housing crisis coming - Jun 2012

Affordable housing is about to hit a crisis point says Ben Roskrow, whatever the HCA figures may say

 

Designer snobbery - Apr 2012

Ben Roskrow argues that views about new home design are fuelled by a design snobbery that not only manifests itself in architects’ surveys but also in popular culture – even in the Harry Potter films

 

The right to open our windows - Mar 2012

New research shows that people like the cost savings in their energy efficient new homes but that they are not fully embracing the sustainability adventure. Ben Roskrow says the industry should not be forced to build homes that folk won't buy

 

New regulations? Yes, minister - Jan 2012

Ben Roskrow argues that civil servants cannot resist introducing new regulations - despite promises to the contrary - as is proven by the latest wave of consultations to hit the housebuilding industry

 

Reasons to be cheerful - parts 1,2,3 - Dec 2011

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Time to sideline the selfish - Nov 2011

Ben Roskrow argues that many opponents of new planning rules are plain selfish and are not considering the needs of those who are not yet on the property ladder

 

A shame of a campaign - Sep 2011

Ben Roskrow argues that the Daily Telegraph should know better than to run its one-eyed "Hands off our land" campaign which is unnecessarily raising the fears of its readers and skewing the argument on important planning reforms

 

Excellence is well worth the effort - Jul 2011

Ben Roskrow says that the quality of entries for this year's Housebuilder Awards demonstrates how far the industry has come in improving all aspects of the new homes business

 

Make your mind up - May 2011

Ben Roskrow argues that a government that changes its mind too often runs the risk of looking weak and lacking leadership. It is time to focus on getting the decision right first time

 

What caused the Pickles prickles? - Apr 2011

Communities secretary Eric Pickles' appearance at the HBF Policy conference was almost bizarre. Ben Roskrow speculates that his strange mood may have been due to the measures introduced in the Budget just before the event

 

Lazy Legoland comments miss improvements in design - Mar 2011

Ben Roskrow argues that Grant Shapps' attacks on new home design were somewhat lazy. Whilst there is always room for improvement, new home design has improved significantly in recent years

 

Measuring the effect of the Coalition's housing policies - Jan 2011

The industry expressed concern that without targets there would be no way of measuring whether enough new homes were being built. Ben Roskrow looks at a new initiative that might just help

 

Don't be a Leicester City on Localism - Dec 2010

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Housebuilding's own Truman Show - Oct 2010

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Why the Borgias are good for innovation - Jun 2010

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Keep calm and carry on - Jun 2010

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Who's laughing now? - May 2010

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A victory for gentle persuasion - Mar 2010

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A victory for gentle persuasion - Mar 2010

Ben Roskrow argues that those who dismissed the chancellor's Budget measures for the housebuilding industry as inadequate, are wrong, unrealistic and missing the point

 

What if Shapps is right? - Feb 2010

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A night to warm the heart - Jan 2010

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2010? We'll win the World Cup and all will be fine - Nov 2009

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That Bobby Zamora moment - Oct 2009

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A unique insight into the industry - Sep 2009

The September edition of Housebuilder includes a fascinating and unique expert analysis of the industry. Ben Roskrow discusses the findings

 

Lies, damn lies and angry economists - May 2009

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The housebuilding model - broken but not irreparable - May 2009

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A Tory plan for nimby heaven - Mar 2009

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Ring those bells - Feb 2009

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Blink and you'll miss it - Jan 2009

The government's zero carbon new homes definition will dictate the future shape of the industry apparently. So stop what you're doing, read it and respond

 

Masters of missing the moment - Nov 2008

Just about every action the government has taken to help the market has been too little too late. By acting now on mortgages the government can reverse that trend

 

Minister speech lifts industry at HMI - Oct 2008

Housing minister Margaret Beckett's first speech as housing minister was warmly welcomed by delegates at the influential Housing Market Intelligence conference

 

Time for realism - Sep 2008

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