Balfour Beatty must feel a little like Max Mosley. Desperate for love – from the City, that is – and continually being flogged – by traders, in its case.
Despite last week’s bullish trading statement, Balfour this week touched a year low of 374p. But in a miserable week, it was housebuilders who got the worst news. According to the RICS’ survey of its members, house prices continued to fall in June but at a slightly slower pace than in the previous two months. The survey showed an average of 15.3 sales per surveyor over the past three months – the lowest since the survey began in 1978. One tiny crumb of comfort was that 88% more surveyors reported a fall than a rise, down from 92.2% in May and 94.2% in April.
It seems that borrowing costs are not the main problem, which is just as well as the next move in interest rates is likely to be upwards. Consumer inflation rose to 3.8% in June, an 11-year high. The Bank of England is expecting it to hit 4.5% by the end of the year.
Inflationary pressures could see some of the housing market’s pain spread to the wider construction sector. Maybe, like Mosley, we’ll just have to start enjoying it.