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Is housing the saviour?

If you work in the housing sector you must be feeling pretty good – or at least better than those not working there. While everyone else is still looking at figures that point down, housing is on the up.

Here are just a few of the recent headlines; “Buyers predict house price recovery”, “Housebuilders to Hire 10,000”, “24pc increaseinprivate housing orders”.

Of course these impressive growth figures are only because the housing sector sank so low in the first place, with last year’s NHBC registrations at their lowest since records began. And as the housing sector was the first to take a dive it is only fair that it should be leading the recovery.

So is it too good to be true? One thing is for certain, regardless of what the election brings, there is pent up demand for housing. So providing our banks do the right thing the growth should continue.

Another important influence is the loss of skilled labour in the sector. Popular opinion has it that this will apply a break to the speed of growth. That means that if your company can offer the skills that are needed, even if you have not previously worked in this sector, now could be a good time to be talking to the house builders. But before you pick up the phone, remember how important it is to understand your potential customer. Do some research. Look at their web site and establish the types of homes they build, how do these fit with your expertise? Visit some show homes and see if you can spot opportunities where you can do things better, or cheaper or quicker.

The market may be on the upturn, but house builders are very skilled at ensuring they get the best value from their suppliers. The market may be growing, but if they are going to give you work they want to know what value you can give them. And value is made up of two elements; lowering costs or providing relevant benefits.

One way to get a better understanding of the opportunities, whether you are new to the market or not, is to go to CIMCIG’s afternoon seminar “How to Penetrate the Housing Sector” on 10th February. At only £110 it provides an excellent opportunity to hear some of the industry’s leading authorities talk about the sector and get them to answer your questions.

Chris Ashworth, founder of Competitive Advantage Consultancy, provides strategic marketing services to the construction industry. He is a member of the organising committee for the Chartered Institute of Marketing Construction Industry Group (CIMCIG).