Alastair Stewar has almost 30 years experience of the construction industry as equities analyst, journalist and columnist. He writes a monthly column on the residential market for Property Week and sits on the housebuilding panel of the Experian Construction Forecasting Committee.
Blink and you’d have missed them, but a year on from Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng’s widely derided clanger of a ‘mini Budget’, housebuilders and estate agents are still reporting the aftermath. Imagine if the former prime minister and chancellor had unleashed a ‘maxi Budget’?
“Some merchants are always eager to turn a profit. Therefore, we decree that the benefit of low prices is not hindered while greed, checked in advance, is restrained.” Not the words of left-wingers calling for price controls, but those of Emperor Diocletian’s Edict on Maximum Prices in 301AD. He failed; ...
Snow in May – even if it is in Manchester? Except the artificially produced flurry is not at the northern capital’s indoor ski slope but from a housing research project trying to preserve the future of the natural white stuff.
There is a scientifically unreliable but effective way of inversely gauging architects’ workload – and, thus, the outlook for the wider property market: how much time designers spend on social media. It seems to have soared, but they appear more exercised about saving the planet than saving their jobs.
Equities analyst and consultant, Alastair Stewart, on property affordability in the north of England
Swept up by the hype, I’ve just binge-watched my first-ever run of British TV crime drama Happy Valley. All good Bafta-worthy stuff. But is it really that unrelentingly grim up north?
There’s an old stock market adage, dating to less assiduously policed times: buy on the rumour, sell on the news. At least when it comes to good rumours.
“What do you think of Sterling’s performance yesterday?” I asked a neighbour a day after the mini-Budget. “Dreadful,” he answered. “He just couldn’t get the ball across to Kane.” No, I clarified: “The pound versus the US dollar, not Raheem versus the Italian defence.”
The road to housing hell is paved with government good intentions. The latest example is the thoroughly laudable aim of sheltering social housing tenants from double-digit rental inflation. The problem is that might stop development of affordable housing in its tracks.
London rental levels have finally shaken off the curse of George Osborne, with agents now foreseeing residential rents in the capital rising faster than the rest of the country for the first time since the ex-chancellor’s 2015 Budget put the kibosh on the sector for close on seven years.