Cameron's New Young Property People

Cameron's New Young Property People

This week’s Tory Party Conference will no doubt be dominated by Iraq.  Somewhere in the mix, however, we can expect to hear more about the vote-winning wheeze of seducing England’s first-time house buyers under the age of 40 with a scheme that knocks 20% off the market value of a home. The Tories’ pledge is to build 100,000 new homes on brownfield sites (and public sector land) over the course of the next parliament – a knee-jerk reaction, perhaps, to Ed Milliband’s earlier promise to build half a million homes by 2025! Whoever you believe, there’s no doubt that the housing shortage will become a political hot potato before next May’s General Election.  This is hardly surprising given the concerns at so many levels about the social and economic effects of unaffordable housing. Nowhere are the effects of this more evident than among the ‘boomerang generation’ of twenty-somethings who have been forced to live with their parents way beyond the age that most of us would find acceptable. As the house-price bubble continues to inflate, the age of this disenfranchised group is creeping inexorably upwards.  It’s not uncommon nowadays for young men and women in their 30s to be still living at home. Does Tinkering Work? We’ve already seen government step in to kick-start the housing market in the immediate post-recession era with its Help To Buy initiative.  This scheme will also be available to those who qualify for the new Tory deal. In important ways, fiscal tinkering of this order highlights the misguided thinking that’s been going on in government circles for long enough.  As Shadow Housing Minister... Read more...

Construction Industry Copywriter? Party Like It’s 1999!

Without a doubt, boom times are back for the construction industry! Before we consider the role of copywriting in this welcome renaissance, let’s look at the bigger picture in which the building sector has operated for the past five years or so.  Starting at the top end: major infrastructure projects backed by government money (such as Crossrail and HS2) will always be headline grabbers.  For quite a few years, however, private sector investment in lower-level projects has been tentative, to say the least. Of course, everyone factors-in the length of time it takes for construction projects to come to fruition. Two to three years – or even longer – is not an unusual timescale for multi-million pound projects.  Few people in the industry would have thought the green shoots of recovery would take so long to emerge! In 2014, the UK’s major house builders are continuing to report significant growth, thanks in no small part to the government’s Help To Buy mortgage scheme.  Commercial construction – including local authority capital projects, and private sector office and factory building – is literally building on the back of growing economic confidence (despite the battering everyone had in February’s floods and gales!).    It’s boom-time… If we’re to believe the latest UK construction Purchasing Managers’ Index compiled by MARKIT/CIPS, the building boom – especially in the civil engineering sector – is well under way.  Across-the-board optimism is evidenced by growing numbers of ‘invitations to tender’, rapidly expanding order books and impressive levels of job creation. Marketing in the construction industry, particularly with larger projects, appears to be affected more by macro-economic factors... Read more...