Green shoots of recovery in 2024

Gary Driscoll
Gary Driscoll

By Gary Driscoll, sales & commercial director at Eurocell.

Last year was tough trading for many industries, not just ours. Yet I believe there is room for cautious optimism in glass and glazing in 2024 despite many of the challenges we face still at play.   

In 2023, the market saw a slowdown in home improvements following the boom during the pandemic, this was coupled with a sluggish  new build market. The cost-of-living crisis also reduced demand for home improvements and for home moves as household budgets were squeezed.

It’s anticipated that these pressures on households will ease throughout the year as factors including inflation stabilise, so businesses serving homeowners, new build, and specifier sectors within our industry should now be preparing for a potential market recovery. I think all have reasons to be cautiously optimistic.

Positive signs are emerging with mortgage rate reductions. Though the national base rate is not as favourable for borrowers as it was in previous years, the competition among lenders is contributing to the gradual decrease in mortgage rates, making the market enticing for buyers who may have been holding off.

Experts project that house prices will reach their lowest point in 2024 before initiating a gradual ascent in line with broader economic recovery. Savills predict a -3% drop in house prices this year before recovery as borrowing cost pressures begin to ease off.

This highlights the importance for fabricators and installers to adopt a strategic outlook, and to make sure they are well prepared for the medium-to-long-term dynamics of the market as we enter a recovery and that demand for home improvements and new builds increase.

The effectiveness of sales and marketing strategies will become clear as that recovery unfolds. Businesses must prioritise profitable products, stay attuned to trends, and actively promote projects to homeowners in the short term. As with any economic downturn, businesses have to work harder to build trust and encourage the greenlight on projects and deals and there are still key drivers behind sales that leaders can focus on to boost revenue.

The desire for additional living space remains a key driving force among homeowners and isn’t going anywhere. Eurocell’s own research emphasises this persistent trend, supported by the 2019/20 English Housing Survey, which indicates that 829,000 UK households face overcrowded conditions, and with the notable peak in Google searches for ‘house extension’ in 2021, it’s evident that homeowners are actively seeking ways to optimise and expand their living environments – with the last two years arguably putting a lot of those plans on hold.

Looking at trends in the market, there is still a demand for non-white windows and nature-inspired colours. We’re also seeing an energy-efficiency focus for homeowners looking for products that can help reduce energy bills such as window and door upgrades.

In contrast, the specification sector operates under a different set of drivers. Here, legislation changes act as a catalyst.

The impending Future Homes Standard (FHS) is the piece of legislation that is front of mind and further underscores the need for sustainable solutions in the construction industry. As a sector, we need to push for better, and although there’s no alteration to the current situation in light of the recent government consultation, Eurocell will continue to invest in sustainable solutions and work with fabricators, installers and the industry to raise standards.

Our Modus window and door system is testament to that approach and continues to lead the market as the preferred solution for energy efficiency, boasting low U-values, aesthetic appeal, and sustainability.

We intend to be at the forefront of discussions to find solutions that reduce the carbon impact of windows in construction. Our profiles already feature significant recycled PVC-U content, actively contributing to the circular economy and keeping more PVC-U out of landfill.

We look forward to supporting the sector’s aim this year to increase efforts and contributions towards a more sustainable future.