Bottom Line: Management uneasy as the good times roll

Elizabeth Fournier

IN the words of one particularly insightful analyst yesterday, when even those with skin in the game are dubious about the government’s Help to Buy programme, you know there must be a problem.

On the face of it, firms like Redrow and Taylor Wimpey should be revelling in the superstar status the chancellor’s subsidies have afforded their shares – both climbed seven per cent yesterday, and are up over 30 per cent this year. But housebuilders have been rightfully taking a cautious line on the recent uptick in construction activity, couching upbeat statements with talk of a slow summer and fragile confidence.

More clarity is needed from the government on how long the scheme will last, but at the moment there’s real evidence it’s helped the UK’s construction industry over a nasty bump in the road, albeit at the cost of blowing a fresh bubble that will eventually burst. As the foundations settle on the first new homes, management and investors will rightly be worrying about what happens when it ends – but in the short-term at least, the industry will continue its recovery.