For Elaine Bailey, one issue will dominate this week’s board meeting at the Hyde Group: Brexit. Looking over the agenda, the London housing association’s chief executive says: “Brexit is what everybody is talking and front of our minds. It’s hard to think beyond that.”
The UK is due to withdraw from the EU by the end of this month. But with the terms of departure still unresolved, uncertainty is hanging over the housing market precisely at the time of the year when housebuilders are seeking their richest pickings.
“Clearly consumer sentiment is very subdued and people are holding on until they get more clarity about what is going to happen,” says Paul Hackett, chief executive of housing association Optivo. “To blame it entirely on Brexit is wrong. We are clearly in a down cycle but that situation has been very much exacerbated by Brexit.”