Having watched the Movers & Shakers webinar this morning on Protecting Housing Delivery, it is clear to see that no industry has been immune to the adverse effects of COVID-19. However, the housing supply industry is undoubtedly one of many which is vital on the road to recovery. An increased supply of housing is essential for the development of strong communities and more accessible and affordable homes means that the labour market can be more flexible, leading not only a higher quality of life but a strong economy agile enough to tackle changing labour demands as we’ve seen during the pandemic.

The pandemic should be used as an opportunity to reconsider the current landscape of housing provision in the UK and tackle the massive lack of supply that we currently have across the country, especially in London and the South East. With the current social distancing policy, most construction work has grinded to a halt, and along with other supply chain issues, means that the housing supply is at great threat.

We have noticed that the traditional labour-intensive methods of developing housing have been the most adversely affected, compared to the more modular Modern Methods of Construction (MMC), with work on those MMC sites still proceeding, albeit at lower than full capacity. Whilst it is unreasonable to predict supply chain issues arising due to global pandemics breaking out, perhaps COVID-19 will help the industry work out ways to consolidate often fragmented supply chains to hopefully lead to further efficiencies and in turn, new communities.

It will be interesting to see how the Government reacts after we have exited lockdown and the ‘new-normal’ begins. Whilst we will all be scrutinising what sort of stimulus and regulatory relief the Government will grant the industry; perhaps all stakeholders in the industry can unite to do their part to continue the community spirit that has remerged in recent weeks. The property rental sector is a huge, key sector in aiding the mobility of the workforce, and needs to be supported as such in a sustainable way. COVID-19 may be a catalyst that changes the housing market for the ‘new-normal’ of Britain.