5 housebuilders laying the road to recovery

Friday, Oct 12 2012 by
5 housebuilders laying the road to recovery

With the luxury of hindsight it’s pretty clear that UK housebuilders were heading for a perfect storm in the run up to the 2007/08 stock market crash. Not only were they to find themselves at the wrong end of a bank-led recession, but as the market peaked many were overbought, over indebted and over optimistic that the good times would carry on. In the year-long value tailspin that followed, housebuilders and their investors got savaged.  

In the aftermath, at least as far as share prices go, the housebuilding and construction sector entered a period of post-traumatic inertia. As it stands, opinions are sharply divided on whether the sector is on the road to recovery or whether the threat of falling house prices means it’s a risk too far for many investors. 

On one hand, mortgage lending rates – which are widely blamed for depressed sales of new homes – remain low. Likewise, government efforts to grease the lending wheels and chivvy buyers with initiatives such as NewBuy and the Funding for Lending scheme are too embryonic for their impact to yet be fully known. Meanwhile, critics have pointed to the proliferation in recent years of so-called shared equity schemes as a cause for concern. These deals involve housebuilders ‘lending’ buyers something like 25% of the cost of a new home in order to smooth mortgage application process. As a consequence, housebuilders have increased their exposure to the risk of falling house prices. 

The counter argument from industry watchers, indeed the housebuilders themselves, is that a ‘stable’ housing market is all they need. As long as house prices and mortgage lending don’t fall, then housebuilders can still turn a profit – indeed, that’s just what they are doing. On this point, there are factors in their favour, not least the perennial problem of an undersupply of new housing in the UK. During the downturn the emphasis changed to building higher margin family homes (rather than apartments), particularly around London and the South East where demand is higher. In addition, the downturn presented an ideal opportunity for housebuilders to buy up land (often at distressed prices), which analysts suggest is now feeding into the latest financials. 

While general sector sentiment is uncertain, one of the patterns emerging is that construction companies are showing increasing signs of fundamental and technical strength. A year ago, a group of construction companies…

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Persimmon Plc is a United Kingdom-based holding company. The Company is engaged in house building within the United Kingdom. The Company trades under the brand names of Persimmon Homes, Charles Church, Westbury Partnerships and Space4. The Company offers a range of homes from studio apartments to family homes in approximately 400 locations under Persimmon Homes brand. The Company builds homes under Charles Church brand in a range of locations. The Company focuses on affordable social housing and sells these homes under Westbury Partnerships. The Space4 business operates an off-site manufacturing plant producing timber frames, insulated wall panels and roof cassettes as a fabric first solution to the construction of new homes. more »

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Telford Homes Plc is a residential developer operating across London. The Company is engaged in planning, designing and building developments on brownfield sites in London. The Company operates through the segment of housebuilding in the United Kingdom. The Company builds apartments, houses, schools, churches and commercial buildings as part of residential led mixed use developments. Its developments include CITY NORTH N4; THE LIBERTY BUILDING E14; THE PAVILIONS N1; BERMONDSEY WORKS SE16; VIBE E8; STRATOSPHERE E15; HACKNEY SQUARE E9; HORIZONS E14; MANHATTAN PLAZA E14; STRATFORD PLAZA E15, and TOWN APARTMENTS NW5, among others. The Company, through its subsidiaries, is engaged in property development. Its subsidiaries include Telford Homes (Creekside) Limited, Island Gardens Limited, Telford Homes Regeneration Developments Holdings Limited, Telford Homes Balfron Towers Limited, Telford Homes City North Limited, Telford Homes Chrisp Street Limited and Chrisp Street Developments Limited. more »

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Bovis Homes Group PLC is a United Kingdom-based company, which is engaged in designing, building and sale of houses for both private customers and Registered Social Landlords. The Company offers a portfolio of properties, including one bedroom apartments, two bedroom apartments, five bedroom apartments and six bedroom detached family homes. The Company carries out and manages a range of housing development activities, including purchasing of the land, building of the houses and the after-care service for its customers. The Company focuses on various activities, which include land acquisition, planning, legal, design, surveying, engineering, purchasing, construction, sales and marketing, public relations and customer service. The Company works in partnership with house builders, local authorities, housing associations and other agencies. more »

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  Is LON:PSN fundamentally strong or weak? Find out More »

1 Comment on this Article show/hide all

Ben Hobson 16th Oct '12 1 of 1

Bellway did better than expected - keeping that momentum going. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/ad37bd5c-175b-11e2-8cbe-00144feabdc0.html#axzz29NJTaayd (£ subscription)

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