SME Developers Help to Deliver Private Home Construction Output to Pre-Pandemic Levels

  • Following a drop in output during the first lockdown, quarter 3 private housing investment bounced back by 84.4%
  • In September, private housing was back to pre-lockdown levels at £2.9bn
  • 20% of construction companies are SMEs providing work for self-employed workers
  • Leading development finance specialist applauds SME owner’s efforts during 2020

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) has released its construction output statistics up to September 2020 earlier this month. Evidence within the report shows the construction industry saw an impressive bounce back in quarter 3. The figures were significantly bolstered by private home construction, which bounced back at an impressive 84.4% compared to quarter 2.

In 2019, figures released by Bizdaq showed there are now over 1 million SME construction firms in the UK, making up 20% of all UK businesses – with nearly a quarter of a million (246,840) in the private housing sector. The ONS figures show a £2.9bn investment in private homes in September – the same output as February (pre-lockdown). A leading development finance specialist is keen to shine praise on those SME developers who weathered the storm of the pandemic.

“When Boris Johnson signalled ‘build…build…build’ to revitalise the economy after lockdown, many scoffed that it was ‘just words’, and believed that action might take time to ignite and make a difference. But the sceptics have been proven wrong, as the ONS figures have shown. To bring the quarter 3 figures even close, let alone to match them, in the space of a quarter of a year is impressive.” comments Peter Owen, Head of Property Development at Saffron Building Society.

“Many have praise large construction companies for this; however, over a million private home developers are small businesses who were brave enough to weather the pandemic and keep their small businesses operating. In a time where self-employed workers have been subject to limited financial support by the government, many of these small developers – creating affordable homes in towns and cities across the country – had continued, and even started, projects and employed skilled tradesmen – as well as young labourers – in very uncertain times. I think we should be applauding the bravery of these business owners.”

After the announcement of Boris Johnson’s new ten-point plan for the environment, the construction industry’s focus, even with local SME developers, will be greener builds. New techniques will need to be introduced to reduce the carbon footprint of homes – whether considering how to heat the homes or incorporating new greener technologies into the homes’ construction. Peter feels this is something SME developers can react to much quicker than their larger counterparts.

“If there is one thing that a smaller developer has over larger construction companies is flexibility. Whilst working on a development project of 2-5 homes, applying greener initiatives is much simpler by scale. To apply this to construction firms, building thousands of homes per project is costly and a slow, drawn-out process. In my opinion, the green revolution in homes is going to begin with our smaller developers. So, to all developers planning their next project, now is the time to get educated and think green to lead the way towards our carbon neutral goal.”

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