Housebuilder shares fall on a quiet day on the markets

Emma Haslett
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Housebuilders' share prices have fallen since the Brexit vote (Source: Getty)

It's so quiet on the markets today you can hear a pin drop - but that didn't stop housebuilders from being hit after this week's Autumn Statement.

On the FTSE 100, Persimmon and Barratt were among the biggest fallers - they were both 0.8 per cent lower, at 1,715p and 469.6p respectively. Tayler Wimpey, the other FTSE 100-listed housbuilder, fell 0.4 per cent to 147.3p.

On the FTSE 250, Bellway was one of the biggest fallers, dipping 1.34 per cent to 2,429, while Bovis fell 0.5 per cent to 827.3p and Berkeley Group fell 0.25 per cent to 2,435.5p.

Shares in both housebuilders and estate agents slid on Wednesday after chancellor Philip Hammond unveiled plans to scrap letting agents' fees - saying that landlords should shoulder the burden instead.

"A dreadful situation"

But today George Salmon, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, suggested a report published yesterday might not have helped.

"The Institute for Fiscal Studies’ (IFS) gloomy predictions that the UK’s workers face the prospect of a decade without real wage growth has clearly done little to steady nerves around the housebuilding sector," he said.

In the report, IFS director Paul Johnson said wage growth is so weak, real wages are unlikely to rise above 2008 levels until 2021.

"We have certainly not seen a period remotely like it in the last 70 years," he said - a "dreadful situation".

That's no help to housebuilders, which have all been hit hard since the Brexit vote, with investors panicking about the state of the housing market once we've triggered Article 50.

The EU referendum may already be taking its toll: figures published by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) on Tuesday showed property transactions fell eight per cent year-on-year in October.

Read more: London houses now cost 14 times average earnings

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