Category Archives: Uncategorized



UK construction suffers eighth successive month of shrinking output

Construction output fell again in December 2019, according to data gathered from industry purchasing managers.

The downward turn continued across all three broad categories of activity and survey respondents attributed the latest drop in workloads to political uncertainty and subdued client demand in the run-up to the general election that took place on 12th December.

The headline seasonally adjusted IHS Markit/CIPS UK Construction Total Activity Index scored 44.4 in December, down from 45.3 in November, and below the crucial 50.0 no-change value for an eighth consecutive month.

This means that this current period of falling business activity across the construction industry sector is the longest recorded by a survey for almost a decade.

Civil engineering was by far the worst-performing category within the construction in December, with activity falling at the fastest since March 2009. Anecdotal evidence implied that political indecision and delays with contract awards for new projects had led to falling business activity.

Latest data revealed a sharp drop in commercial construction work, which was partly attributed to clients opting to postpone spending decisions ahead of the general election and Brexit outcome.

House-building dropped for the seventh month running in December, although the rate of decline here was only modest.

Construction companies recorded a reduction in new business during December. On the plus side, the pace of decrease was less severe than the 10-year record low seen in August. The latest survey also suggested to the softest decline in staffing numbers in four months. Where a drop in employment levels was reported, survey respondents often claimed the non-replacement of voluntary leavers amid a lack of work to replace completed projects.

Despite the downturn, construction companies indicated that their optimism towards the year-ahead business outlook rebounded to a nine-month high. A number of firms suggested that greater clarity in relation to Brexit had the potential to boost order books in 2020.

Housing Index for the last decade.

  • UK city house prices have grown by an annual average of +4.4% over the last decade 2010 – 2019.
  • While the election result removes some uncertainty, market fundamentals set the context for city house price growth and market activity in 2020.
  • We expect UK city house prices to grow by +3% in 2020 with continued above average growth in the most affordable regional cities while growth in London is expected to be +2%.


Average UK city house prices have increased at an annual average rate of 4.4% per annum. While price falls in the latter part of 2018 suppressed the annual growth rate, these have dropped out of the annual growth calculation and explain the increase in the current annual rate of growth. The outlook for 2020 will be driven by affordability factors. We expect city house prices to increase by +3% over 2020 with above average growth in the most affordable cities and below average growth in cities across London and southern England.

Change of Government doesn’t shift fundamentals
While a new Government, and the prospect of a Brexit withdrawal deal becoming law in early 2020 will reduce uncertainty, neither of these will change market fundamentals in our view. While we expect a return of some pent-up demand in 2020 Q1 across all cities, affordability pressures will remain a constraint to demand and the scale of growth in 2020.

Marked difference in current and long run growth
There is a marked difference between the current and 10-year growth rates across UK cities (Fig.2). Cities in southern England have registered a marked slowdown in price inflation over the last 1-3 years with current growth rates well below the 10-year average – Oxford, Southampton, Portsmouth, London, Cambridge, Bristol.

London over the last decade – a tale of two halves
The performance of the London market over the last decade falls into two distinct phases, pre- and post 2016. Prices in London have increased by 74% since 2009, an annual average of 5.4%. Most of the price gains in London came in the years running up to 2016 when unsustainable growth stretched affordability levels which were compounded by multiple tax changes and weaker sentiment. The rate of price inflation has picked up recently as available supply falls and sales increase off a low base. Despite this, growth is still running at a third of the 10- year average. While there has been a 3-year repricing process, against the backdrop of lower sales, we expect affordability constraints to limit price growth in London over 2020.

Affordability fundamentals a key driver looking ahead
We have analysed the drivers of UK house price growth since 2009. The annual increase in prices is largely explained by the fundamentals of lower mortgage rates and rising incomes. There is little evidence that prices have been pushed higher by households increasing the amount of income spent on housing, as was the case in the years running up to 2007. This reflects greater caution on the part of buyers and new mortgage regulations testing affordability for new purchases.


Published Date: 3rd January 2020
Category: Uncategorized



The Launch of QUICKQUOTE

Here at ABC+ Warranty we are always looking at ways to improve our level of service and industry standards.

We have taken another step forward in offering our award winning ABC+ 10 Year Structural Warranty to customers by launching QUICK QUOTE.

So what is QUICK QUOTE?

It is the Industries shortest structural warranty application form.

Once you have submitted your QUICK QUOTE form a member of our team will get back to you with a indicative quotation in a matter of minutes. **


Published Date: 15th November 2019
Category: Uncategorized



CRL & Alpha Insurance Alternative Solution

If you had a CRL Warranty backed by Alpha Insurance then you now find yourself in a position where you have no cover in place and where potential sales/purchases cannot be completed. Solicitors and lenders would of course not accept a warranty where the insurer is in liquidation. ABC+ Warranty are able to offer you a CRL Warranty alternative. We have been able to help many developers, contractors and property owners who are looking for an alternative solution to enable them to refinance or sell their property.

We are able to offer a Professional Consultant Certificate. A PCC is a CML approved Certificate which acts as an assurance to a bank or lender that any new build or newly converted property has had the relevant checks and the projects works conform to the approved plans. This can be issued retrospectively and is normally 50% cheaper than a structural warranty.

This can get your refinancing or sale of a property back on track as certificates can be issued in a matter of minutes once a site inspection has been carried out.

Get in touch with ABC+ today.


Published Date: 5th November 2019
Category: Uncategorized



Road and Sewer Bonds

Generally speaking it is your local authority’s responsibility to look after a road once the developer has commenced works, but the developer may be required to give the council confirmation of insurance by way of a surety bond, which would then give them the green light to go ahead.

The amount of security required is provided by the local council and is often higher than the developers contract works budget.

S38 Agreements cover new roads and S278 Agreements cover work being done on existing roads. Roads bonds insurance act as a guarantee for the council for any development where roads are being constructed and will be adopted by the council after completion.

Works that are carried out by the developer, will be required to be of a certain specification and certain timescale. If the works are not carried out to these standards then the local authority can call upon the bond money to complete the works of the road if for whatever reason it has been left incomplete.


Published Date: 29th October 2019
Category: Uncategorized



Barclays Bank mortgages now accept ABC+ Warranty

Another mortgage lender ‘Barclays Bank’ also accepts our ABC+ Warranty especially for newly built and converted dwellings.


Published Date: 14th October 2018
Category: Uncategorized



Construction Summit 2018

Construction Summit 2018 ABC+ Warranty explaining the benefits


Published Date: 6th August 2018
Category: Uncategorized



Latest Mortgage and Construction News

Don't get comfy just yet guys

The CML, ABFA, BBA, CML, FFA, Payments UK and UK Cards have now been merged into one group and are to be known as UK Finance. The CML Mortgage Lenders Handbook will now be known as UK Finance Mortgage Lenders Handbook.

Banks and building societies together with conveyancing solicitors should read up on the following information from the CML.

UK Construction industry- Government figures show a slow start to the year with lending and transactions both in line with 12 month averages. A recent survey carried out by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors expects much of the same going forward. The report noted that there continues to be a fall in the number of properties coming onto the market, as July marked 17 consecutive months where this measure was falling.

Lloyds Standards

Lloyds banking group are raising the standards to adopt the RICS standard of surveying.This is great news for Architects Certificate who offer both types of Warranty certification for new homes. Architects Certificate have held this high level of qualification since 1989. Hand picking only the best Surveying team of RICS professionals. Not everyone will be happy with this news however, for the likes of larger well known Warranty providers whose ‘inspectors’ rather than ‘Surveyors’ are typically qualified to only a BSc in construction standard. That could be the reason why so many other Warranty providers are experiencing high levels of claims recently.


Published Date: 9th March 2018
Category: Uncategorized



2016 CPD Meeting


A great day was had by all on our 5th annual CPD day last Friday.

Our surveyors from all over the UK met in our Manchester events room to receive 5 hours of useful CPD and also a very nice lunch. We heard about straw bale construction, changes to the building regulations, risk avoidance, modular construction and  current news within the warranty market.


Published Date: 6th December 2016
Category: Uncategorized



BREXIT: 6 months on

Six months on from the pivotal referendum result and the UK electorate are slowly starting to understand what being outside of the EU may look like.  Theresa May has stressed that the UK will have control of its boarders and maintain sovereignty, but has failed to deliver any details for a reassurance of the economic outlook…

The economy has slowed slightly but by nothing like as much as feared and the Office for National Statistics has said that “the pattern of growth continues to be broadly unaffected following the EU referendum”.

However, we have not left the EU yet and the pattern is an unbalanced one, the only sector of the economy that continued to grow was services up by 0.8%; agriculture, manufacturing production and construction all shrank. Also, it is that very services area that we might lose once we exit the EU with many banks and financial institutions considering relocating to mainland Europe.

Brexit supporters will take these figures as a sign that warnings about the economic costs of voting to leave the EU were nothing more than scaremongering. Remain supporters will argue that they were warning about potential damage over a period of several years. They say that only prompt action by the Bank of England saved deeper damage to the economy and that worse is to come.

While growth in the services sector was robust, the construction sector contracted by 1.4% and industrial production fell 0.4%, with manufacturing output down 1%.

UK construction shrank at its fastest pace since 2009 after the UK voted to Leave the EU in June.

The figures offer little comfort to prospective homeowners after a damning report from the Resolution Foundation revealed that home ownership has fallen to its lowest level for 30 years. The research shows supply has failed to keep pace with demand in the UK, shutting buyers out of the market.

Slowing house prices are helping first-time buyers

Slowing house price growth since the vote for Brexit vote is helping first-time buyers get on to the property ladder, according to the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA).

After falling in September, the proportion of homes bought by first-timers last month hit 32 per cent – a rise of nine per cent to the highest figure since records began in 2000, says The Times.

In the wake of reports from Nationwide and Halifax showing rapid house price growth cooling, added the paper, “Mark Hayward, managing director of the association, said that this could be down to… houses appearing more affordable to buyers”.

First-time buyers are also benefitting from record lows for mortgage rates and a return of 100 per cent loans, including one launched by a regional building society this week using the homes of the buyers’ parents as security.

Market Harborough Building Society’s “family assistance mortgage” follows Barclays’ 100 per cent “family springboard mortgage”, which similarly uses parents’ deposited cash as security.

While house prices are slowing, they are still rising, in defiance of analyst predictions prior to the EU referendum. The NAEA report suggests this will continue.

The number of properties being offered for sale grew 7.5 per cent to 43 per estate-agent branch, offering a welcome sign of confidence returning since the Brexit vote.

But at the same time, the number of buyers seeking a property rose 32 per cent to 440 per branch, the highest since February. There are now more than 10 prospective buyers for every house for sale in the UK.

A shortage of supply is constantly cited as the main reason for consistent house price rises in recent years.

“After shrugging off the uncertainty, we have seen an increase in supply and a rise in the number of sales to [first-time buyers] this month – proof the market is beginning to bounce back,” Hayward said, reports FTAdviser.

“Clearly what we need now, though, is a clear plan as to how the government is going to tackle the chronic shortage of homes that we are facing.”



Published Date: 30th November 2016
Category: Uncategorized



BREXIT should we be worried?

“Brexit” is not a disaster for the world economy

Once the dust has settled, the global economic implications of the UK’s vote to leave the European Union are likely to prove much less dramatic than many had suggested during the past few weeks. The adverse effects on the UK itself and the direct impact on other European economies should be small.

And there may be some offsetting benefits for the global economy, including looser monetary
conditions. However, the long-term political consequences could turn out to be far more significant.
The immediate focus is on the market turmoil triggered by the UK vote to leave the European Union. At the time of writing, sterling is down by around 8% against the dollar (compared to yesterday evening) and European equity markets have fallen by 5-10%. These are big moves for a single day and, if they are sustained, will have a negative impact on sentiment. However, the fall in sterling should not have any implications for the world economy as a whole. And the knock-on effects of falling asset prices for the economy need not be huge. After all, equity markets in advanced economies fell by over 20% in the first six weeks of this year but this did not trigger a recession, and these moves were soon reversed.

In brief, we think the adverse effects for the UK itself will be smaller than widely feared. It is likely that the process of leaving will not be initiated until October this year and that the UK will remain an EU member for at least two years after that. Investment may be weaker than it would otherwise have been – although note that officials are already trying to boost sentiment by stressing that Brexit is not, after all, the end of the world. But consumer confidence
should hold up well given that 52% of the electorate actually voted to leave the EU. Finally, while a sustained and large fall in sterling would lead to higher import prices, inflation should remain low by past standards, and a more competitive currency would give a boost to exports.

If we are right about the implications for the UK, it follows that the direct economic impact on the rest of the European Union should also be small. Indeed, even if the hit to the UK turns out to be much bigger than we anticipate, the consequences for other European economies need not be large because –
other than for Ireland – exports to the UK typically account for less than 3% of GDP.

Moreover, there are some silver linings. For a start, global monetary conditions may well be looser than they would otherwise have been. The Bank of England is likely to keep interest rates low for longer and, if necessary, may even announce further policy easing. The ECB will also be willing to consider not just an extension of its asset purchase programme but an increase in its size.

The UK referendum will not be a game-changer for US monetary policy, although it probably rules out a July rate hike. After all, Fed officials have cited the risk of a Brexit as a factor behind their decision to leave rates on hold in June and they may want to see how things pan out in the coming months before tightening policy. This has already been reflected in a fall in OIS rates and ten-year US Treasury yields, which have declined from around 1.75% yesterday to 1.5%. Brexit has also strengthened the case for further policy easing in Japan because of the appreciation of the yen.

Overall, therefore, the world economy should be able to weather the shock of the UK voting to leave the EU fairly well. Over the long run, the more important consequences may turn out to be political. Opinion polls show high levels of demand for a referendum on EU membership in France, Italy and the Netherlands; such demands may now be harder to resist. (See our European Economics Update, “UK vote to leave EU raises doubts over future of Europe,” also published today.) Moreover, even if the rest of the EU holds together, its members may struggle to agree on further reforms, including those which are necessary to sustain the monetary union.

Finally, the referendum result will exacerbate concerns that support for populist movements
elsewhere will continue to grow. This could prevent further progress with trade agreements such as TPP and TTIP and potentially reverse some of the liberalisation which has taken place in past decades. Support for Brexit in the UK and for Donald Trump in the US taps into the same concerns about the impact of globalisation and rising inequality. But parallels between the two movements are not as close as many assume, because the Brexit campaigners have argued for more, not less, free trade. For now, at least, fears of a wholesale reversal of globalisation appear over-stated.

Andrew Kenningham Senior Global Economist (+44 (0) 20 7808 4698,


Published Date: 15th July 2016
Category: Uncategorized



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