National newspapers on the fortunes of the UK’s housebuilders

Falling like a ton of bricks

Mark Clare, the chief executive of housebuilder Barratt, told the Observer that his firm’s plight – with its market capital falling to £280m at one point from last week, down from £4.7bn in 2007 – was due to a “short-selling conspiracy”. The newspaper predicts that “cash-rich sovereign wealth funds and some private equity giants” will buy up builders on the cheap, but only after up to 100,000 jobs are gone.

Barratt seeks help on loan terms

Mark Clare, Barratt chief executive

The beleaguered housebuilder is in talks with banks to renegotiate covenants that could be breached following the disastrous collapse in share prices of the company in the last few months, according to the Sunday Times. Banks including the Royal Bank of Scotland, HSBC, Lloyds and Bank of Ireland are said to be “supportive”. Mark Clare told the paper: “we do not have 100% clarity of what the market will be like in 12 months and that is why we are talking to our bankers now.”

Barratt: The roof caves in on housebuilders

Mark Clare’s career as a chief executive “is probably over”, says the Sunday Times. He and his finance director Mark Pain look to be the first casualties at Barratt, which has so far avoided making redundancies even as its sector rivals cut swathes through theirs. The upshot of all this, says the paper, is that there will be a “huge shortfall” in the number of new homes built this year.

City plots rescue plan for ailing housebuilders

But it’s not all bad news for Britain’s housebuilders. According to the Sunday Telegraph, bankers at UBS have drawn up plans to provide direct funding to the sector. UBS, which advises both Barratt and Taylor Wimpey, has proposed possible plans for a placing by major shareholders such as Standard Life, Scottish Widows, Legal & General and M&G.