In the end. the official date the United Kingdom was supposed to up sticks and stomp out of the European Union came and went last month, with parliamentary indecision forcing Theresa May’s government into a potential extension until Halloween.
The political squabbling both within the Conservative Party and the House of Commons has led to months and months of daunting uncertainty for investors – as well as potential house buyers.
The waiting for clarity shows signs of coming to an end for those looking to invest in a property purchase this Spring. The UK’s acceptance of a long extension to Brexit appears to me to be the final straw for house hunters who are fed up of waiting.
Figures from Rightmove released on Monday showed that property prices in the UK climbed 1.1% in April, in comparison to 0.4% in March, making it the biggest month-on-month rise for more than a year.
All the figures suggest that demand is beginning to outweigh the pullback caused by ongoing Brexit uncertainty, and I see FTSE 100 housebuilders Barratt Developments (LSE:BDEV) and Taylor Wimpey (LSE:TW) taking advantage of this trend in the months to come.
A positive trading update in February has seen Barratt’s share price boosted by more than 24% in the last three months, and that comes despite the well-referenced macroeconomic uncertainty as a result of Brexit.
Barratt built more than 18,000 new homes in 2018, and has an attractive dividend at 7% – which I believe is unlikely to drop if property prices continue to head northwards.
Throw into that mix Barratt’s reputation for upholding high standards when it comes to the construction of its houses, my feeling is that its share price should see further growth through the remainder of 2019, barring any catastrophic change in Brexit-related events.
Taylor Wimpey is another housebuilder with a mightily attractive dividend, which is expected to top 10% this year on current estimates.
As with Barratt, the firm reported positive full-year results in February as its profit before tax to December 2018 was 18.9% higher year-on-year.
The group attributed the strong performance to robust demand, driven by low interest rates and bullish sentiment from house buyers in the face of Brexit.
With Taylor Wimpey sitting on a net cash level of £644m (even despite a whopping £500m being paid out in dividends) it appears to be in a healthy position even in the case of cooling customer demand. It has shown in the past it is well able to cope with such a movement in the housing market.
Foolish final thought
While my sentiment towards housebuilders like Barratt Developments and Taylor Wimpey is overwhelmingly bullish at this stage, it is important to note the talk around the future of the government’s Help to Buy scheme.
If the scheme is axed, as many are predicting, the pressure on the housing market would be increased… but that is still a long way down the road!
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ConorC has no position in any of the shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Rightmove. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.
Motley Fool UK 2019