By Neil Cooper-Smith, senior analyst at Business Pilot.

The latest Business Pilot Barometer shows that window and door sales climbed by just under 4% in October on September, reversing the fall seen in September on August.

This is consistent with last month’s data, with the 12% increase in leads seen in September successfully converted into new business.

It should, however, be noted that this was at a slightly lower rate of conversion, down 5% on September, which suggests that demand from retail has shifted to more sustainable levels since summer’s hiatus.

This also did not translate into recovery in average installed values, which remained around the £2,970 mark for a second consecutive month, representing a 23% drop on August.

Writing as England goes into a second period of national lockdown, with restrictions remaining in place in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland, it is very difficult to comment with any certainty on the shape of things to come. We believe there is, however, continued reason for optimism in the near term.

House prices increased at their fastest rate for five years in October. The figures from Nationwide showed a jump of 5.8% compared to this time last year as buyers rushed to close out purchases before the stamp duty holiday ends in March.

Figures from the Bank of England show that home-buyer mortgage approvals hit a 13-year high in September.

The reality remains that despite what appears a cascade of bad news about the impact of Covid-19 on the UK economy, the stamp duty deadline means the housing market remains on a high. And as long as it does so, it can be expected to be storing up work for the window and door industry.

It’s not only installers, and their suppliers, who are currently struggling with the backlog of demand, something which is unlikely to be helped by new restrictions on working. Lenders and conveyancers are also struggling to keep pace.

With many purchases going down to the wire in March, everything points to continuing demand as we head into late spring and early summer.

Interest rates remain at record lows, so borrowing and cash is cheap, something that is unlikely to change until the UK is well on the way to a post-Covid economic recovery.

We would argue it is important for installers to use any short-term respite going into Christmas to get to grips with their profit and loss to make sure that in a period of potentially continuing high demand in the new year, they are maximising profitability on each and every job, putting cash into their businesses for any slowdown when and if it comes.

Business Pilot can help you understand your true profitability across the lifetime of each and every job, also supporting you in running your business effectively from lead generation through to surveying, scheduling, installation and aftercare.