How are the housebuilders coping with the UK property market?
The share prices of many of the UK’s major housebuilders suggest that investors are wary about the UK property market. Stocks have fallen sharply from the highs of the last few years, meaning these companies now come with extraordinary dividend yields. But are investors right to be nervous of the housing market. Recent numbers from some of the leading housebuilders have helped to shed some light on the situation.
It is fair to say that Halifax housing data, which pointed to a 5.7% increase in house prices in June, was taken with a great deal of scepticism. Britain’s biggest property lender even explained away the surprisingly high figure by comparing it to a particularly poor June 2018. Most of the country’s economic experts are divided into two camps: those who think the housing market is on the cusp of complete collapse and those who think it is settling into a prolonged period of barely noticeable growth.
Of the two scenarios, the UK’s housebuilders are hoping for the latter. The last time the UK’s property market crashed (along with the economy in 2008), their share prices crumbled away too. It took Persimmon (LON: PSN) and Berkeley (LON: BKG) more than seven years for their share prices to return to pre-crash levels. Bovis Homes (LON: BVS), Taylor Wimpey (LON: TW) and Galliford Try (LON: GFRD) still haven’t managed to reclaim their peaks.
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