How can we make the property market work to create a healthy and sustainable housing sector?


Thursday, May 10, 2012

2012 National Property Showcase Breakfast Seminar:

Today, Thursday 10th May, Grenville Turner, Chief Executive at Countrywide, the UK's largest estate agency and property services Group, was joined by some of the most influential professionals from the UK residential property industry at the second annual National Property Showcase breakfast seminar, which took place at the Millennium hotel in London.

Over 150 industry leaders, including representatives from Lloyds, RBS, HSBC and Virgin Money attended this exclusive event to hear insightful and thought-provoking presentations.

The speakers, Andrew Carter (Director of Policy and Research, Centre for Cities),  John Slaughter (Director of External Affairs, The Home Builders Federation), Dan Rosenfield (Managing Director, BoA Merrill Lynch) and Adam Challis (Head of Research, Hampton's International), discussed a number of issues surrounding the housing market, prompting interesting discussion.

Topics ranged from engaging over the health of the UK housing industry, the future of the UK housing landscape, European and global factors which affect the British market, a review of the initiatives launched in the UK and the economic performance of cities around the UK.

Key issues raised:

·        Pent up domestic and international demand for properties is evident but the UK economy remains volatile.

·        More appropriate credit is required in the housing market- Grenville Turner, Countrywide said; "The issue of deposit affordability is clearly a big hurdle and not mortgage affordability as many seem to think. As the largest lettings agency in the UK, we know that people's rental payments are higher than their monthly mortgage repayments would be, if they could secure a mortgage."

·        The chronic shortage of appropriate housing stock -Grenville Turner, Countrywide summarised;"Most agree that there are not enough houses in the right places, or the right type of houses at the right price, and that to me confirms that there is a shortage."

·        "Mortgage Lending, Planning and Regulationarethe key barriers preventing builders from delivering more,"John Slaughter from The Home Builders Federation said, but added that though these are significant issues he remains optimistic about the potential for improvement going forward.

·         Long term rebalancing of the UK economy is occurringas highlighted by Andrew Carter from Centre for Cities.  However, "growth has predominately taken place in London and the South, with figures showing that between 1998 -2008 for every ten private sector jobs created in the south, only one was created in the north and midlands,[1]" he concluded.

·        House prices should be aligned with wage inflation / deflation-"The two things have become detached but we have yet to see any concrete plans to resolve this issue,"Grenville Turner, Countrywide commented.

·        Employment and job security remain key issues affecting consumer confidence- Andrew Carter, Centre for Cities, also highlighted;"Private sector dynamism is crucial to future performance of the UK economy and the Government should try an incentive-based approach."

·        Customer sentiment continues to affect market performance, but it is moving in the right direction -Adam Challis from Hampton's International said;"Things are not looking bad as long as we look forward. Recent consumer surveys show that there is an element of marginal optimism. It's not hugely positive, but definitely less negative than it was."

Grenville Turner, Chief Executive at Countrywide, commented:

"At last year's inaugural event, we discussed the importance of being more innovative in order to deliver great services for our customers and drive a sustainable recovery in the property market.

"A year on, it is concerning that the key barriers to a healthy, sustainable property market still remain and the UK housing PLC still finds the market very tough with no clear plan agreed by all the relevant parties. We believe that innovation and the adoption of a communicative approach with all parties aligned while respecting commercial interests is the only way to start us on the road towards emerging out of this challenging environment.

"We are pleased to have brought together an insightful and diverse range of speakers from various industry backgrounds to discuss this important issue as the UK property market is a key contributor to the UK economy. History has shown us that the housing market can help lead an economy out of a recession and based on the feedback received and the different perspectives explored today, it is obvious that the future of the housing market concerns industry leaders and it is pleasing to see so many engaging with us on this important topic."

- ENDS -

Full presentation slides are available upon request. Please contact: for more information.


[1]Region                                                    Change (1998 - 2008)

   North & Midlands                          75,300

  London & South                               772,200

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