Construction and Covid-19

These are unprecedented times globally as we try and fight and mitigate the damage this silent killer is causing! So my first message before anything is; follow government direction and please stay safe! Being a Property & Construction focused recruiter, I thought it would be apt to focus on the impact Covid19 is having on both the Property and Construction industry. Market uncertainty paired with movement restrictions rightfully enforced by the government has essentially ground the property market to a halt.

Estate Agents & Developers have tried to adapt to the current conditions and offer online viewings to try and generate sales, however particularly in the residential market, buyers want to walk around the property before making such a commitment This combined with a reluctance to spend money or invest, has led Savills to predict that we could see a 45% slide in property sales this year.

Last week we saw a number of PLC developers close their sites and cease any construction of new build units moving forward for the foreseeable. This caused a drastic fall in FTSE listed developers share prices in some cases over 10%. This coming at a time where most housebuilders enjoy their “peak spring selling period”.

Similarly, construction consultancies and developers operating in the built environment are now facing challenges of having critical sites open but their sub-contractors pulling their resources. We have also spoken to several public sector clients struggling to manage their workload at half capacity due to sickness, and absences. Fortunately, we have been able to deliver and add value to these clients by assembling fully operational teams to allow critical sites to continue and supply interim candidates for our clients to return to full staff capacity.

These are worrying times for both respective markets, however, when viewed comparatively with other industries, bar online conference providers and a few anomalies, nothing is going well!

We must now focus on how to best position ourselves for WHEN not IF we see a resurgence in the market! China, who are further along the Covid19 lifecycle have already shown signs of recovery in their property industry since movement restrictions have been eased.

Dissimilar to the financial crisis of 2008, people have not lost faith in the financial market, as it has been impacted by something nobody could envisage happening and out of any large financial institutions or governments control. Hopefully, through “pent up” demand we will see a real resurgence in both markets towards the end of 2020 or at least by Q1 of 2021!

Stay Safe!