No prizes for guessing which two housebuilders suffered the greatest share price plummet in 2008. Yes, Taylor Wimpey and Barratt.
The imaginary £100 invested by Building at the end of February, before the calamitous spring selling season, is now worth £6 in Taylor Wimpey and £15 in Barratt. For the record, our punt is now worth £32 in Persimmon, £71 in Bellway, £65 in Bovis Homes and £58 in Redrow.
Meanwhile, Taylor Wimpey totters towards a covenant breach on 1 January like a wobbly aunt after too much Harvey’s Bristol Cream. Those in the know are still adamant that a refinancing deal will be done but there’s a hint of exasperation. “The fun just keeps rolling on at Taylor Wimpey,” quipped one this week.
Despite the doubts a leaked email from chief executive Peter Redfern this week hinted that talks with lenders were progressing well.
Robin Hardy, an analyst at KBC Peel Hunt, believes the company will still be standing in the new year. He has called it “too toxic to topple”, given the banks’ unwillingness to close it down and take the assets onto their books, and after crunching the numbers on a debt-for-equity swap. Last week he switched his recommendation on the stock from “hold” to “buy”. After all, a lot can happen to a £100 stake in a year.