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.
Equities analyst and consultant, Alastair Stewart, on the number of architects in the industry
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?
Equities analyst Alastair Stewart on the adage of buying on the rumour, selling on the good
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.
It’s beginning to look like Christmas
Christmas arrived early for the housing market this year. Not from a bedazzled child’s aspect; more, at least it would seem from early evidence, from a turkey’s.
Don’t listen to housing ‘experts’
Was rehabilitated Levelling-up secretary Michael Gove right in one of his past pronouncements, that “people have had enough of ‘experts’ saying they know what is best and getting it consistently wrong”? Quite possibly, especially when it comes to housing.
A meltdown is wide of the mark
“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.”
Will rent cap prove anti-social?
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.
A Tory scrap on the home front
FFS! What are the Tories up to? Not my abbreviation, but the riposte from Tory MP Angela Richardson after Nadine Dorries criticised Rishi Sunak for modelling Prada shoes while rival Liz Truss scrapes by with £4.50 earrings.
Housing cycles: the key differences
It’ll be different this time. No, I’m not being ironic. The way this housing cycle unwinds is likely to be very different to the last two – despite the headlines.
Glass half full for housebuilders
Forget RPI or CPI. The spectre of inflation really hit home when my inflationary measure of choice, LPI or the London Pride Index, ticked up.
No crisis signs for housebuilders
Cost-of-living crisis, rising interest rates, Covid, Brexit and a grinding war in Ukraine. Cue carnage for the housing market? For housebuilders, so far, it’s still a case of ‘crisis, what crisis?’
Investors vote with their wallets
When the UK’s top eight stock-market-listed housebuilders announced combined profit writedowns of more than £1bn over three days to pay for recladding, investors might have been expected to press the panic button.
A Russian threat on the home front
“Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” Mike Tyson’s famous quip has a chilling resonance for a world plotting a recovery from a global pandemic – but now facing off an infinitely nastier brute.
London ends rental drought
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.
What is cladding levy rationale?
There is a similar sense of politicians grasping at straws when you compare Australia’s attempts to deport Novak Djokovic and Michael Gove’s threat to make developers pay £4bn for recladding mid-rise housing blocks. Maybe the housing secretary formulated some of the policy while stuck in a BBC lift for half ...
Has MMC’s moment finally come?
‘Modern’ methods of construction (MMC) have been the next big thing for building houses since the Romans or earlier.
Housebuilders not bricking it yet
The abiding metaphor for property is ‘bricks and mortar’, so data on their availability is as good a barometer as any on the relative fortunes of real estate, especially housebuilding. Judging by the latest, it looks like bricks are in shorter supply than, supposedly, turkeys for Christmas.
Time to fight carbon with carbon
Are you, like me and most Brits, trying to do your bit to save the planet, but totally hacked off by the nihilistic tactics of Insulate Britain? Can I suggest a way to stop the lunatics from gluing themselves to the M25: next time they pounce, turn the heating up ...
RESI Convention ushered in a hybrid future
I really must get out more. That realisation dawned on me and possibly everyone else at last week’s RESI Convention, held on terra firma at Celtic Manor on 8 to 9 September rather than via the cloud.
Builders left bitter by share slide
“We announced fantastic results, our order book went up strongly, we increased the land bank and our net cash position soared. And guess what? Our shares went down.”