(Housing Starts – Reproduced from Property Matters)
Shortage of skilled construction workers will hit housebuilding
The Economist reports on the shortage of bricks and bricklayers in the UK and how it could slow the pace of house building. Mark Farmer of EC Harris has said, “Either we need more people or we need to construct homes in a different way.
Mr Farmer believes that increasing annual house building to 230,000 would require an extra 120,000 people in the industry. The UK Commission for Employment and Skills estimates that just to replace retiring construction workers in the next 10 years, some 700,000 new recruits are needed. However, it notes that first-year trainees in the industry fell by half between 2005 and 2013, to fewer than 20,000. A shortage of bricks could also hit housebuilding as Britain is currently having to import one-fifth of its bricks from continental Europe and the scarcity is contributing to annual inflation in construction costs of about 6%.
Reform of holiday home inheritance rule
A new European agreement to take effect from Monday means UK citizens with holiday homes abroad will be able to decide who can inherit the properties. At present, “forced heirship” rules mean they cannot fully choose who will inherit properties in most European countries, with local laws usually stipulating that a certain share of a property must pass on to particular family members. The new regulations on cross-border legacies will allow people to specify that a property should be bequeathed under the law of their country of nationality or “habitual residence”.