Stringent Lending Stems Buyer Demand

Too few properties coming onto the market and more stringent lending conditions appear to be stemming the tide of prospective home buyers, according to the latest RICS Residential Market Survey.

The national supply of new homes coming onto the market dropped for the fifth month running in May and in London, where fears of an overheating market have been expressed, demand for new homes fell for the first time since June 2012.

In the month that saw UK house prices reach record levels and greater lending restrictions begin to impact the market, respondents reported that banks are lending less, with the average Loan to Value (LTV) ratios among first time buyers dropping to 85.3% (from 86% in April).

Meanwhile, respondents’ expectations for house prices over the next 12 months dropped from 3.9% to 3.6% – the lowest since December 2013.

Simon Rubinsohn, RICS Chief Economist, said: “What we are really seeing is some of the very strong upward momentum starting to come off the housing market, as a lack of supply, higher prices, more prudent lending measures and some of the talk from the Bank of England are creating a level of caution among sellers and buyers. The most visible indicators of this are the revised downwards price expectations for the next 12 months and the flatter picture regarding new buyer enquiries. In particular, we’re seeing the London market level off. There is some evidence to suggest that the Mortgage Market Review (MMR) has contributed to a tightening of the funding market, although it is hard to disentangle this from other factors which are now impacting on the sector and to know whether it will simply be a temporary influence as lenders adjust to the new environment.”

Read the full story at: Roofing Today

Construction Up 1.2% on the Month, 4.6% on the Year

The latest figures published today by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that construction output increased by 1.2% in April 2014 compared with March 2014.

Falls in construction output in February and March 2014 have resulted in the rolling three month growth rate falling by a modest 0.1%. However, compared with April 2013 construction output increased by 4.6% due to strong growth in new house building but the quarterly level is still 10.3% below its peak in 2008 Q1.

April’s construction data points towards a strengthening housing market and a pickup in commercial activity seen in private industrial and commercial building. These movements are supported in Bank of England reports which found an increase in housing market transactions, strong growth in house building and a gradual return of confidence in the commercial construction sector.

These improvements coincide with growth in mortgages for house buyers and rising house prices. The Bank of England has reported an increase in mortgage lending in every quarter since Q1 2012, while the ONS House Price Index has risen in every month since March 2012.

ONS say that while the underlying trend in new housing orders has been one of growth, the quarter on quarter fall of 9.0% in Q1 2014 misleadingly suggests that this trend has come to an end. Splitting the sector into public and private new housing orders shows that this fall is due to a significant fall in public housing new orders of -45.7%.

In April 2014, repair & maintenance work increased by 1.6% compared with March, up 4.2% on April last year. Housing repair and maintenance grew slightly due to an increase in public housing repair and maintenance. Non-housing repair and maintenance increased by 2.8%.

Read the full story at: Roofing Today

HSE Spot Checks Start This Week

This week sees the beginning of a two-week drive by HSE construction inspectors making unannounced visits across the country, focusing on ill health on construction sites.

HSE Challenges Sites to ‘Think Health’

Poor working conditions likely to lead to ill health on building sites will be targeted. Inspectors will be looking in particular at

  • respiratory risks from dusts including silica materials;
  • exposure to other hazardous substances such as cement and lead paint;
  • manual handling,
  • noise and vibration.

For every fatal accident in the construction industry, it is estimated that a worker is at least 100 times more likely to die from a disease caused or made worse by their work.

Inspectors will be looking at respiratory risks from dusts including silica materials usually caused by cutting tiles in the roofing industry; exposure to other hazardous substances such as cement and lead paint; manual handling, noise and vibration.

In 2012/13, 39 construction workers were killed. However, more than 500 deaths a year are due to silica exposure alone.

Read the full story at: Roofing Today

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