The Guild News


The state of the housebuilding industry in the UK

February 2020

The UK’s construction sector has been under a significant amount of scrutiny over the past decade or so. In part, this can be attributed to worries surrounding a lack of adequate housing stock and inadequate health and safety standards. As conversations surrounding the UK’s much-decried housing crisis continue unabated, so do calls for construction companies to build better homes at a faster pace.

Despite this general sense of doom and gloom, however, the UK construction industry experienced considerable growth towards the end of 2019. According to recent figures from the Office of National Statistics, November 2019 saw an increase in private housebuilding despite a wider shrinking of the country’s economy.

The number of houses being built surged by 1.9% between October and November, reflecting the equivalent of £13.8bn of work. This is a much more impressive number than the 0.6% rise predicted by analysts and could spell a change in fortunes for construction companies recently plagued by poor weather, critical media attention, and an economy flailing under the weight of political uncertainty surrounding Brexit and the general election.

Why does the construction industry seem to be recovering?

There are many possible reasons for the current resurgence of the UK’s housing market and housebuilding industry. According to some analysts, however, this change of fortunes can be attributed at least in part to an uptick in buyers’ willingness to commit to purchasing a house after the Conservative election win in December.

Whilst the outcome has not, of course, been taken as good news by all potential buyers in the country, many believe that the current political landscape is now more stable than before. Indeed, the increased clarity regarding the UK’s departure from the European Union has boosted some buyers’ willingness to part with their money and invest in property.

If this faith in the government continues, the housing market and, by extension, the construction sector, may continue to experience healthy levels of interest and activity. What’s more, housebuilding, in particular, has been tipped as one of the country’s more resilient segments within the housing industry more broadly. This is good news for construction firms and workers hoping to stay afloat over the next few years.

What the next decade will bring for the construction industry

Whilst the construction industry is clearly faring better than it was a few months ago, it is important for people within the industry not to get complacent. The government has set out a target to build 300,000 homes every year by the mid-2020s – an ambitious target that will require huge mobilisation on the part of construction companies. It is also vital, of course, that issues surrounding safety and quality are addressed to ensure these companies fulfil their ethical duties to the people who will live in their homes.

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