New-build valuers must change habit

As part of a recovery in the housing market, we are seeing improvement in the new-build sector.

RICHARD SEXTON, DIRECTOR OF BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT, E.SURV

New-build suffered disproportionately during the credit crunch because it was hit not only by the slowdown, but also by a serious loss of confidence by lenders and purchasers.

Developers were an easy target for people to blame, but valuers were also to some extent culpable for sometimes neglecting to challenge received wisdom.

Relationships are looking healthier, though developers that continue to refuse valuers access to sites are undermining their own credibility. Longer term, the sector is one to support.

The population is growing as are single occupancy rates, which increases demand for new homes.

There were 200,000 new immigrants last year, but only 100,000 new homes were built. This must have a long-term effect on prices. But short term, the sector could slide further than the rest of the market if the gap between hope and reality widens once again.

I despair when I hear that some firms are giving developers sympathetic valuations in return for being considered for work.

One can’t blame developers for taking advantage of this, though I hope common sense will drive a change of behaviour before we start the unproductive cycle of overvaluation again.

If the valuers involved develop a reputation for being willing to work in this manner, they will no doubt benefit in the short term too.