Developer profits bounce back from pandemic decline, but remain off the pre-pandemic pace
The latest new-build sector insight by the new-build sales optimisation platform, Unlatch, has revealed that developer profits have bounced back on the decline seen during the first year of the pandemic, although they remain below the levels seen prior to the pandemic.
Unlatch analysed the profit before tax of the nation’s eight big housebuilders and their pandemic performance.
The research shows that the pandemic had an immediate impact on profit margins, with total profit before tax falling by an average of -50% between 2019 and 2020 across these eight big name housebuilders.
Countryside endured the largest annual reduction in profits at -77%, closely followed by Taylor Wimpey (-68%) and Redrow (-66%), with Persimmon seeing the most marginal reduction at -18%.
However, 2021 has brought a reversal to this pandemic decline, with developer profits before tax increasing by an average of 102% versus their 2020 slump.
Again, Countrywide and Taylor Wimpey have seen the biggest turnaround, with profits increasing by 209% and 157% respectively. Redrow has also seen a 124% increase, the fourth largest annual increase.
However, the Vistry Group has seen the third largest uplift, with profits increasing by 140% in 2021, having also seen the second smallest annual decline in 2020 at -26%.
While the profit taken by these eight industry giants still sits -9% below the pre-pandemic profits seen in 2019, the Vistry Group is also the only developer to buck this trend, with 2021 profits up 79% versus 2019.
The Berkley Group remains the furthest from their pre-pandemic profit margins, with profits taken in 2021 still some -33% off the pace set in 2019.
Lee Martin, head of UK for Unlatch says: “Despite the property market boom, the pandemic has posed problematic for the nation’s big housebuilders who have had to battle an increase in labour and material costs, as well as numerous workplace restrictions.
This has inevitably dented output, the result of which was a drop in profits taken during the initial year of the pandemic. However, the sector has worked hard to overcome these issues and we’re already seeing the fruits of this labour materialise in a turnaround in fortunes where profit margins are concerned.
While the majority are yet to return to pre-pandemic normality, this will no doubt come in 2022 as we return to almost full normality and the sector continues to provide the housing stock that we so sorely need.”
Unlatch is helping these developers create a more sustainable and accelerated sales approach through their unique PropTech software. Saving their clients hours in laborious tasks on a weekly basis, adding value to their sales teams, and bringing down the average exchange timescale to 25 days from point of reservation rather than when legal packs are received when using the Unlatch platform.
Sales teams (both internal and external) are able to concentrate not only on their sales and progression, but also giving the customer a far better journey and experience through their purchaser portal white labelled APP. Our housebuilder and developing clients have seen the benefits every day, whilst using the data and analysis tools to save even more time for their marketing departments and for reporting.