Share indices in the week to 14 June 2002
The herd instinct, always a strong one in the City's moneymen, appears to got the better of them when it comes to the question of investing in poor old housebuilders.

This sector has long been aggrieved at its continued underrating despite of a long run of strong results. Now housebuilders' noses have been put even further out of joint by the fall in share prices last month. Among the hardest hit were Berkeley, Crest Nicholson and Bellway.

Investors and fund managers are getting increasingly jumpy about medium-term prospects, primarily because of concerns over a possible interest rate rises and rampant house price increases – much the same scenario as before the crash of 1989.

The thinking is that the good times cannot continue, so they are lessening their exposure. Housebuilders respond that when the shortage of housing and low interest rates are factored in the City has nothing to worry about.

"I don't know why the City just won't stay with them," said one frustrated analyst, reciting the usual refrain adopted by the sector's supporters.

"Demand is outstripping supply and that won't stop any time soon because the planning delays are so bad. Also, interest rates, even if they rise, will still be relatively low."