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Housebuilders suffer collapse in new orders

In early July, the UK’s big housebuilders reported their worst performance in seven years amid a collapse in new orders in the run-up to the referendum.

Ahead of the poll, housebuilders such as Crest Nicholson were warning that imports of building materials would become more expensive under Brexit, and would also put the flow of construction labour from Europe in doubt.

Stephen Stone, the company’s chief executive, noted that imports include bricks and blocks from Belgium, ceramic tiles, bathrooms and kitchen components from Spain and white goods from Spain and Germany.

With the market already experiencing jitters, housebuilders across the country had downed tools and mothballed projects.

After the result, shares in the UK’s biggest property developers and builders began to slide. British Land, Persimmon, Taylor Wimpey, Barratt and Berkeley all suffered big falls.

Brian Berry, chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders, said there was growing concern that situation would worsen as uncertainty increased.

“Construction is an industry that is particularly vulnerable to dips in confidence and it appears that many clients were hesitant to commit to new projects as they were unsure of what the future held. An exit road map is needed to show what steps are going to be taken to withdraw from the EU.”

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