One of many UK’s largest housebuilders has revealed that demand is falling quickly as consumers react to increased mortgage charges and the prospect of a recession.
In an replace on Wednesday, Taylor Wimpey mentioned that over the previous 5 months it has been promoting houses at round half the tempo it was within the first half of the 12 months.
In one other worrying signal for the sector, the variety of Taylor Wimpey homebuyers cancelling purchases forward of completion has jumped by greater than 50 per cent. Slightly below 1 / 4 of purchases have been cancelled within the second half of the 12 months to date, up from 15 per cent within the first half.
Taylor Wimpey nonetheless anticipates that working income for the total 12 months will likely be according to earlier steerage, at round £930mn, however it’s nonetheless bracing for a tricky interval.
“We’re working in a difficult financial and political backdrop, and the sector will not be immune,” mentioned Jenni Daly, the FTSE 100 group’s chief govt.
Greater mortgage charges after former chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s “mini” Funds in September have left individuals “re-evaluating their capacity to purchase” and common gross sales costs have plateaued after a interval of sturdy progress, she added.
The tempo of gross sales might gradual additional, warned Investec analyst Aynsley Lammin, as a result of people who find themselves finishing purchases in the mean time would usually have cheaper mortgages that have been agreed earlier than the Funds, whereas these beginning the method now must pay a lot increased charges.
“The important thing difficulty will likely be that if the gross sales price stays so gradual into the spring promoting season then pricing will begin to be hit,” he mentioned.
Taylor Wimpey can also be grappling with construct value inflation of 9-10 per cent. In the meantime, new levies and the necessity to meet increased environmental requirements in building might add £4.5bn in annual bills to the sector, in line with the builders’ commerce physique.
Some are hoping for reassurance from the brand new chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, in his first price range subsequent week.
“After the final couple of months, I’d say our clients are involved concerning the Funds. Why wouldn’t you wait a pair weeks and see what the chancellor has to give you?” mentioned Daly.
However Lammin mentioned it was unlikely that Hunt’s assertion might reverse the rise in mortgage charges, or forestall the financial system from tipping into recession.
“It’s powerful on the market. Gross sales charges have tumbled and we’re in a brand new market,” he mentioned.
Shares in Taylor Wimpey have been flat on Wednesday at 98p, and have fallen round 45 per cent within the 12 months thus far.