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Hardman & Co

UK Housebuilding Sector: 2016 and beyond

Hardman & Co ReportIt was Arthur Holly Compton, a physicist and winner of the Nobel Prize in physics in 1927, who invented speed bumps; and they were first used in New Jersey in the US in 1906.

Widely employed now, this family of traffic calming devices uses vertical deflection to slow down motor vehicle traffic in order to improve safety conditions.

But they are not without their detractors and have been blamed for increased traffic noise/pollution, slower response times for emergency vehicles and, in Sweden, spinal stress in bus drivers.

Similarly, Brexit in the UK has its supporters and vilifiers, in almost equal measure, and on 23 June last year what should have been a jounce for the Housebuilders became something more seismic as the Sector subsequently lost 36% of its value.

This was more a speed wall than a bump (see chart overleaf) and although the Sector sedan drove carefully thereafter – there was still a 15% penalty in terms of value at the end of 2016.

It is also the case that the movement of share prices in most of Q3 and all of Q4 resembled an elongated speed bump warning sign i.e. velocity increased on positive news flow only to decelerate when it met the sleeping Brexit policemen.

But money has been made and more will be on offer as we expect this oscillation to continue; and in the first short trading week of the New Year, share prices rose 3.6% on average with three of them – Persimmon, Taylor Wimpey and Crest – up by 9 to 10%. Empirically, though, it is proven that driver selection and lap counting are critical.