Confidence boost for housing market

The latest figures from Halifax have revealed a rise in house prices of 1.1% in October, despite ongoing pressure from higher interest rates and contrary to the predictions of economists.

According to Halifax, average UK prices increased to £281,974, an increase of around £3,000. That means they are still down, marginally, year on year, but remain roughly £40,000 higher than before the Covid pandemic.

What does that mean for the home improvement industry? Well, according to the latest Business Pilot Barometer, average leads were up 16.5% and average sales increased by 18.9% last month.

Compared to the same time last year – and taking into account the fallout of Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng’s economics – they are up a whopping 23.8% and 28.9% respectively.

This is positive stuff, but Business Pilot’s senior analyst, Neil Cooper-Smith, advises caution. A small increase in house prices does not indicate the start of a boom – especially at this time of the year – and mortgage rates are still much higher than many people will be used to.

There’s also the loss of Safestyle and UK Window and Door Group and a more challenging economy to take into account.

But with Business Pilot’s data revealing an upturn in leads, sales and a reduction in order value, could confidence be returning, even at the volume end of the market?

For the full Business Pilot Barometer report, click here.

In other news, I visited Nationwide Windows last week, a company that manufacturers and supplies predominantly into the new build and commercial (local authority) sectors.

Supplying seven out of 10 of the largest house builders by volume in the UK and nine local authority framework providers, its manufacturing facilities are based on a seven-acre site in Rugby.

Nationwide is a hugely impressive organisation, despite perhaps not being as well-known as other high profile businesses within the industry (although it’s up for a G Award this year so that might be about to change) and is forecasting a turnover of £50m for 2023/24 – with a current orderbook in excess of £100million for next year.

A full feature article will be published in the December issue of Glass Times.