Labour conference latest: Housebuilder boss Chris Tinker says the firm has been hit by fallout from the vote
Crest Nicholson has been hit by the UK’s vote to withdraw from the European Union, the company’s regeneration chairman has admitted.
Chris Tinker, speaking at an event on the Labour party confernce fringe yesterday, said that the Surrey-based volume housebuilder had suffered “a whole stack of cancellations on the day after ‘Brexit’, triggered by predictions that there would be a dramatic slump in house prices.
“We have not had much recovery in Central London and higher value Home Counties areas where we are quite exposed.”
He said that the recovery in housing sales reported by several of Crest’s competitors, particularly in northern areas that voted Brexit, had “not entirely been our experience”.
But Crest’s reservations have subsequently recovered, said a spokesperson.
But he said that the industry had generally drawn back on land acquisitions following the vote due to the wider political uncertainty, which Tinker added had never been at such a “high level” in his experience. Delays to land purchases now would result in fewer homes being brought forward this year and next, he added.
He urged the government to resolve uncertainties over the UK’s position vis-a-vis the European Union as soon as possible.
He also told the event that the current Conservative government “could be accused of concentrating too much on home ownership, pointing to how approximately 60% of all new build homes benefit from some form of subsidy, such as via the Help to Buy initiative for first time home purchasers”.
And Tinker said that while the overall level of planning approvals was rising, an increasing share of those consents were being delivered on a smaller number of sites. He said the trend suggested that councils preferred to take through a smaller number of sites, which could pay for more of their infrastructure requirements through planning gain agreements.