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Hope in the Housing Market? Podcast Excerpts

Skyscraper, Housing Market

Mark Noakes

Associate Director, Mark Noakes featured on 'The Qui Moment' podcast this month where he gives his perspective on the property industry and his refreshingly positive outlook for the sector. We have included some excerpts from the interview below.

What is the housebuilding sector like?

"We have been in a busy market really since coming out of recession...it's been constantly busy.

There is huge growth right across the sector...even if you take a north-west focus on it because that is really where our strengths are...there is a huge growth in the market with new regions opening.”

What is the biggest challenge that the sector faces?

“The biggest issue that we have, probably like a lot of our sectors is the shortage of quality candidates. The growth in the market is there, the diversity in the market is there, the investment is there. The one thing that isn't there is the positivity in the market. That's something that the industry itself needs to work on."

"The housebuilding market in isolation suffered heavily from the financial market crash because whether it is development finance or its mortgage availability, it's interlinked. Having said that, bad news sells. So for example, over the last few years, nigh on every FTSE housebuilder has announced fantastic results. You tell me the last time in an article in the front pages of any newspaper or any media outlet that is telling you that housebuilding is doing well and growing. You only hear negative stuff constantly.

So from that point of view, if you link that into recruitment  If we're trying to bring candidates into this marketplace who are doing degrees - why would they come into housebuilding because all they ever hear about is negative perception."

What needs to be done to improve this perception? Does it start with education?

“A lot of the Plc housebuilders are doing an awful lot of work with apprentices, and degree and graduation candidates, which is great, but it's not a sexy industry to get into.

Despite that, if you look around Manchester - and look at some of the businesses going up, there is a lot going on.

Tom Bloxham from Urban Splash was speaking recently at an event and he said what people fail to realise is that we are creating homes. We are not just building things. We are actually creating homes for people and their kids and generations to be brought up in. We lose sight of that.

From an industry perspective, everyone is focussed on how many units you are building, not how many homes you are building.”

What are the good things that are happening in this sector?

“There are constantly a lot of good things happening, whether you are looking at FTSE 100 results, or whether you look at the Manchester Spacial Framework that has been released recently for the next few years in terms of development opportunities that is going through the brownfield, greenfield, whether you are in a village or in a city centre. You look at the city centre just now and there are more cranes than have been up in the last 10-20 years.

I think from a career point of view, the only thing I could say is that  I am now dealing with clients at Director level, that I was dealing with 15 years ago as candidates coming into the market. So they have stayed in the market and made it up to Director level….so this is an industry that you can have longevity in.”

Is there a demographic split in the industry?

“Historically, it is a very male-dominated industry, and it still is, but the number of females now that are at senior posts is increasing phenomenally. Less so within housebuilders, more so within the housing associations and development companies around that side. Having said that, Keepmoat promoted internally their first female MD in to run their Glasgow operation at the back end of last year, so it is definitely changing.”

What does this all mean for recruitment and your role in particular?

I actually love the market that I work in. I love my job. I think more so because it's a tangible marketplace. I am talking to people and there are tangible land sites, tangible schemes, tangible developments and it makes it more interesting. I've been doing it 15 years - and my candidates are now clients as we keep in touch with them and they work their way up to Director Level"

You can listen to the full podcast on the following platforms.