“The Brick industry is very supportive of the Governments Help to Buy initiative,” says Simon Hay, CEO, Brick Development Association.
“The industry is conscious that Help to Buy has improved the confidence which underpins the market. As we recover from recession, we look forward to steady growth in the housing sector which is in response to demand including changes in population and household composition. Modern housing with brick facades are energy efficient, attractive and durable. A brick house would be expected to last well over 150 years.
“The house building sector has helped the UK economy in recovering from recession and the initial pump priming emphasis has come from the Help to Buy initiative which has been both effective and timely. There is a massive pent up demand for homes supported by potential purchasers who may well be paying more for rents than repaying a mortgage.
“The majority of Help to Buy mortgages have been to first time buyers, increasing the demand for new homes. However, in the south east and London, the high house price inflation has been caused by shortage of supply. We have to realise house building is at a historic low. In 2013 121,000 houses were completed and this year it is predicted this will only increase to around 133,000. So when we consider that in 2007 we were completing 177,000 houses per year, we can see the recovery is only partly complete. While we have a partial recovery, both our customers and the wider construction industry would like to see steady growth which is both sustainable and predicable.
“The Brick industry has responded to the improved market conditions by increasing shifts and shortening maintenance shutdowns and has already begun reopening mothballed plants to cater for rising demand. The majority of brick factories were manufacturing bricks through the Christmas period for the first time in 5 years. Many brick factories are essential local employers often in rural locations of otherwise high unemployment. The steadily improving figures for house building have enabled production to be increased because of steadily rising demand benefitting the local communities.
“The Brick industry considers that Help to Buy has been a key constituent in rising confidence, and is fully supportive of Government Initiatives to improve the supply of much needed housing towards more normal levels. An increased level of house building is also the best price control method as a greater number of houses built will inevitably lead to house price stability. Help to Buy has shown that a relatively small but decisive initiative has benefited the economy and the potential homeowners market.
“We look forward to the development and refinement of this policy.”