Brand new industry research from the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) has revealed that two-thirds of SME house builders are yet to see any negative impact on their project pipelines following the result of the referendum to leave the EU, according to Show House.
This first survey to be carried out since the Brexit vote was confirmed shows that 69% of the firms contacted had yet to see any change to their businesses as a result of the vote, though the government has been warned that it is vital to streamline the process for getting projects started in order for this crucial part of the property economy to continue to be sustained.
Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB, said, “SME house builders are crucial to achieving the Government’s ambition to build one million homes by 2020, so Ministers will no doubt be bolstered by these initial post-Brexit findings. Despite some fears that the referendum result might put new projects on hold, the overwhelming majority of SME house builders are reporting that no decisions have yet been influenced by the referendum result.”
Only one quarter of those companies surveyed reported any negative effects thus far as a result of the decision to leave the EU, and the majority of these effects seem to be delays to projects rather than cancellations. However, the FMB took the opportunity to remind the government what it wants for small house builders in the coming months and years.
Berry continued, “Brexit aside, we should not paint an overly rosy picture of the situation facing SME house builders. The barriers to building that existed prior to the referendum are still hindering delivery, and as the housing crisis continues to be a pressing concern, the need to empower smaller developers must be a priority for May’s Government. To this end, it’s worth noting that more than half of SME house builders state that the removal of unnecessary red tape should be the most important consideration for the new Government as they begin to negotiate the UK’s exit from the EU.”
Alongside this, the FMB stated the absolute need for the government to protect industry access to skilled tradespeople from the EU, warning that failure to do so would be a major barrier to delivering desperately-needed housing and infrastructure projects.
Meanwhile, one industry figure has stated that UK builders need more government help to boost the number of new projects being started. Recent figures show that, on a quarterly basis, seasonally-adjusted house building starts in England were estimated at 36,400 in the latest quarter, up 2% compared to the previous three months and 6% year-on-year, according to Department of Communities and Local Government data.
Rod Lockhart, managing director at online mortgage lender LendInvest, told OPP Today, “The modest pace of the improvements is a concern. At the current rate, we will fall well short of the Government’s target of one million new homes by 2020, and fail to make inroads into the sharp housing shortage in the UK. The onus is on the Government to jump-start the housebuilding industry. The large housebuilders are not keen to do more, so efforts must be focused on small and medium-sized builders.”