The latest survey of the residential rental market by the surveyors’ body RICS is likely to wind up the pressure on the housing minister Grant Shapps to promote more house building. The survey suggests that rents are rising ever faster, driven by rising demand in a market where supply is constrained, as the graph taken from the RICS survey shows.
A first reading of the latest set of jobs figures provides some encouragement both for the nation at large and for those engaged in construction. Nationally unemployment was down and employment was up, with the rate of those aged 16 or older rising to 70.7% from 70.5% in the three months to March. Encouragingly the improvement came from more full-time employed jobs, rather than from self-employment or part-time work.
House prices are showing signs of greater stability after the falls in the second half of last year. Today Hometrack released figures showing prices in March were just 0.1% down while Nationwide released a figure of plus 0.5%. But the big question on everyone’s mind is where to from here for the market as homebuyers and sellers adjust to the squeeze within the economy. And among construction folk what does this all mean for house building.
With all the fuss about inflation and the impact that it is having on families, I thought I might just take a look at what its impact might be on construction folk. So here are some very crude figures taken from the average weekly earnings non-seasonally adjusted data including bonuses and arrears. Average weekly earnings in construction have dropped 1.1% between November 2007 and November 2010 according to the latest official figures.
Here’s a question that goes right to the heart of current housing policy: Should we be using incentives as readily as we are to encourage first-time buyers onto the property ladder? However iconoclastic or contrary this question may seem, it needs to be asked. There is so much at stake.