Heat is on for hous­ing mar­ket

The Scotsman - - Business - By BEN WOODS

Shares in house­builder Redrow and es­tate agency group Coun­try­wide were un­der pres­sure yes­ter­day after the two firms flagged a slow­down in the UK hous­ing mar­ket.

Redrow said that “on­go­ing po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic un­cer­tainty” caused sales to slip in re­cent weeks com­pared to a “very strong” mar­ket last year.

Coun­try­wide, mean­while, warned that the hous­ing mar­ket was “chal­leng­ing” and the num­ber of trans­ac­tions made was likely to fall in con­trast to 2016.

The up­date comes after a sur­vey from the Royal In­sti­tu­tion of Char­tered Sur­vey­ors (Rics) showed the level of house sales fall­ing or com­ing in flat across the UK.

In a state­ment ahead of Redrow’s an­nual gen­eral meet­ing, chair­man Steve Mor­gan said: “I am pleased to re­port that for the first 18 weeks of the cur­rent fi­nan­cial year, Redrow has traded in line with ex­pec­ta­tions.

“The sales mar­ket was buoy­ant in the first quar­ter, how­ever on­go­ing po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic un­cer­tainty has re­sulted in a slight slow­down in sales in re­cent weeks in com­par­i­son to a very strong sales mar­ket last year. I don’t an­tic­i­pate that last week’s in­ter­est rate in­crease will have any ad­verse im­pact on the mar­ket as mort­gage rates by his­tor­i­cal stan­dards re­main low and very com­pet­i­tive.”

Coun­try­wide saw group rev­enues drop 7 per cent to £175.1 mil­lion in the third quar­ter com­pared to last year.

It said Lon­don sales and let­tings, its fi­nan­cial ser­vices unit and its busi­ness-to-busi­ness arm proved re­silient, help­ing to off­set a slow­down in UK hous­ing trans­ac­tions. Es­tate agency rev­enues slipped 16 per cent to £47.8m over the three­month pe­riod, with let­tings rev­enues fall­ing 3 per cent.

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