Despite fears that Britain’s decision to leave the EU would cause the housing market to fall, housebuilder Millwood Designer Homes is finding the contrary.
Managing Director, John Elliott tells Pound Sterling Live that there is a brighter future for British housebuilding post-Brexit.
Indeed, the latest figures from the Nationwide index question whether Brexit has had any negative impact on property values, as prices rose 0.6% in August, notoriously a quiet month in the housing market, compared to figures from July and a whopping 5.6% when compared year on year.
“Essentially, the residential property market will continue to be underpinned by an acute shortage of new homes,” says Elliot.
Millwood Designer Homes builds a broad range of individually designed homes from contemporary styled apartments to more traditional two and three-storey homes.
The company is renowned for its large properties that are modelled on the traditional 15th and 16th century Yeoman-style farmhouses, once so common in the Kent and Sussex Weald.
With such quintessential roots it seems unlikely that Brexit would affect such a UK building company, but laws set out by the EU have had an impact in recent years.
John feels that leaving the EU will offer building firms a great sense of freedom from previous impositions.
“Obviously it is still early days but I am hugely encouraged by what I have seen post-Brexit and still stand by my view that it is better for the future of British housebuilding to be out of the EU. Our housing market is home grown and many initiatives set by EU law were detrimental to us,” says Elliot.
Elliot reports that there has been no impact on sales of Millwood properties since the referendum, neither has he seen a slowdown in visitors to the developments or any reduction in overall sales. Positivity is in the air with the change in government.
“I welcome our new Prime Minister Theresa May and Housing Minister Gavin Barwell MP, who I look forward to meeting in the future.
“I strongly anticipate their strong commitment to continuing the commitment to build 300,000 new homes a year and would be extremely keen to see a reversal in the stamp duty fees implemented by George Osbourne which has such a significant negative impact on the overall housing market.”
With the fear that Brexit will impact the global economy, some sectors have reacted cautiously with future business developments, John however has pushed forward with a new project that has so far seen great success despite fears in other areas.
“In July, we launched our new development Standgrove Field in Ardingly, Sussex and we had over 50 people through the doors on the launch day alone, which was extremely encouraging,” says Elliot.
“At our Woodlands View development in Hastings, the market is holding strong with investors still keen to capitalise on good rental yields and benefit from the long term potential of the town’s regeneration and the possible HS1 rail extension. High quality new homes will always be in strong demand and the Millwood brand stands as a marker for quality in design and specification.”
Luxury homes in the UK are growing, as foreign investment increases and commitments to increased transport links are confirmed, however, the market isn’t immune from an investor’s fears of a fragile market.
Managing these fears is crucial to ensuring investors don’t withdraw from developments, it’s why the latest figures are such a relief to the industry.
John maintains a practical view on the matter:
“The worst danger that we have moving forward is people trying to talk the market down and reduce confidence. In the last month, it has been reassuring to see less scaremongering and more positive research based on facts. It was also particularly interesting that the Bank of England former governor Lord King came out firmly in favour of the UK outside the EU and Sir Martin Stuart Sorrell also changed his views after post June 23rd data remained very positive.”
Certainly the future looks bright for the housebuilding industry, after original fears over loss of immigrant workers were allayed by a 2-year ‘break’ from the EU, negotiated through Article 50. But Elliot believes it is strongly down to the Government’s commitment to developing more homes, especially in London.
He adds, “Residential development is as vital and important post-Brexit, as it was pre-Brexit to maintain housing delivery.
Government support is guaranteed and the downbeat London property market (which has been in decline for the last year) should not be cited by ‘remain’ commentators as any kind of indicator of the health of the wider market.
However, I know that the government remains committed to significant numbers of new homes being built, as well as to the Help to Buy scheme. Therefore, it is hard to feel anything other than confident that we will continue to see sales conditions continuing to improve and expand over the next few years.”