Spring 2023

We are moving into spring with a lot of energy and optimism at Merchant Land; albeit recognising that as a country and industry the ongoing significant challenges will continue to shape the year. Challenges including the housing market short term, housing affordability pressures and the cost of living crisis.

As I move into my mid 40s and look back at key times in my own career; challenging difficult conditions can be when teams and businesses use focus, creativity and vigour to carry on building.

We have spent time in Q1 this year on ensuring we are in good shape. Whilst like many we are optimistic that the UK’s recession will be mild and that the country does not face long term economic turmoil, we have stress tested our income and ensured we have strategies in place to move forward in an environment with higher “normal” interest rates and utilities. We are now looking closely at the construction market so we can form our own house view on how the industry will respond to a slowdown in new starts paired with an ongoing inflationary environment with growing regulatory requirements. Whilst construction data showed a sector wide return to growth last month this is driven by commercial new starts and not residential. We rely on our supply chain and the challenges they face will have direct impacts on how we can procure and structure work we hope to start on site in Q4.

However, genuinely I feel excited. There is something inspiring and exciting about using your knowledge and instincts to make things work when the conditions aren’t easy. Delivering in a down turn is an enjoyable challenge that creates practices and experiences that can be relied on in the years ahead.