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Michael Gove: Cowboy builders behaved in unregulated ways
In typical fashion, pulling a pin out of a hand grenade and throwing it into the mix, Leveller in Chief Michael Gove has come out with a statement, regarding the Grenfell tragedy, and the cladding and remediation crisis in general:
Gove, making an oblique reference to the builders who put together housing in a shoddy and life-threatening way, said: “The sheriff or sheriffs might not have been on the ball, but the cowboys were behaving like cowboys in an unregulated way.”
He then went on to say: “It would seem to me that developers and construction product manufacturers, if they say that they are squeaky clean, they’re wrong,” before following up by saying that the parties who were to blame should shoulder the responsibility of dealing with the financial burden caused.
Gove made these comments on 8th November, when he appeared for the first time before the select committee in an attempt to be seen as accountable.
Pointedly, he stated that it was time to put the handbrake on the present scheme in motion, whereby the leaseholders were being made to stump up the cash to make their properties safe for habitation.
He went on to say that the government “have a responsibility to relieve some of the obligations faced by leaseholders at the moment, who are innocent parties in this and who are being in many cases asked to pay disproportionate sums when there are individuals in business – some still in business – who are guilty men and women.”
Whilst this appears on the surface to be encouraging, with Michael Gove seemingly going much further in the direction of those most in need, my worries are that in the past, he has waltzed into positions in the government, turned policy on its head and then exited, leaving all stakeholders to deal with things.
It is all very well to halt initiatives agreed by his predecessor, but maybe setting out a firm solution that does not penalise the National Home Builders might be a good idea, as he also is now talking about adjusting the annual 300,000 new homes build rate downward.
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Knight Frank suggests supply chain and land shortage may limit new homes
In its latest report, Knight Frank, having sounded out dozens of New Home Developers of various sizes, found that over 60% inflation in raw materials for the builds, coupled with long term issues of actual supply, would be likely to slow the construction of new homes in 2022.
Also, a fifth of those contacted said that acquiring land was becoming a problem, with eight of ten builders saying it was in very short supply.
Justin Gaze, lead at residential land for Knight Frank, commented: “Build cost inflation is the most talked about topic in the land market at the moment, and it is anticipated that this will not ease in the short term. This, combined with delays in the planning system, are going to significantly impact the delivery of completed new homes in the market.”
The supply chain problem is a global one, with many factors including softwood fires in Canada and other natural disasters hampering things, as well as the pandemic disturbing output and some borders still not open due to it.
If new homes are in short supply, it will be interesting to see if they become even more inflated in price, as typically a big chunk of them sell to first time buyers who avail themselves of Help to Buy or other government-backed schemes, so if fewer are built maybe they will be selling for even more money.
PropertyHeads and CoreLogic tie-up a commercial partnership
The Founder of PropertyHeads, Ben Davis has put together a joint partnership so that its clients on-site can get access to the large range of services provided by CoreLogic, like property data and analytics.
Stewart McRae, sales and marketing director of CoreLogic UK said: “The partnership will add another tangible benefit for members of the social networking site. Introducing the network to the CoreLogic suite of Property Marketing Services – photography, 3D virtual tours, drone, floorplans etc. provides agents with access to relevant resources that are quality assured at the highest levels.”
Ben Davis said: “Our agent marketing solutions form a crucial part of our growth strategy and our partnership with CoreLogic represents an important next step in that regard. We’ve already registered a comprehensive share of the agency market in the short time that we’ve been around.’
For those unfamiliar with PropertyHeads, it styles itself as a property social network, where they help users with every aspect of their property lives, like finding a home, sourcing tradespeople, saving money on running their home, etc.
Its collaborative community, which boasts experts in every field of property, goes a long way in providing access to information and support, working towards its goal of a more transparent residential property sector.
Andrew Stanton is the founder and CEO of Proptech-PR, a consultancy for Founders of Proptechs looking to grow and exit, using his influence from decades of industry experience. Separately he is a consultant to some of the biggest names in global real estate, advising on sales and acquisitions, market positioning, and operations. He is also the founder and editor of Proptech-X Proptech & Property News, where his insights, connections and detailed analysis and commentary on proptech and real estate are second to none.