Editor’s Letter: It’s been both a whirlwind and an eternity
02 September 2020
Despite the recent stretch of insufferable heat, the clouds of 2020 are still hanging over us.
The UK has plunged into a deep recession, with the economy suffering the biggest tumble on record between April and June. While the ONS reports that GDP climbed by 8.7% during June—when lockdown measures started to ease—it is still a staggering 17.2% lower than February 2020 levels. With consumer confidence low and the public anxious about a potential second peak, who knows how quickly we will ‘bounce back’. We will also soon see the end of government support packages, such as the furlough and CBILS, and unemployment is expected to surge as limping businesses weigh up their options. Already, we have seen almost three-quarters of a million jobs lost from company payrolls since March—and this will only get worse come October.
The negative impacts of the pandemic will undoubtedly be on everyone’s minds, especially as businesses in our sector aim to best plan for now and later. However, we must also be looking at any opportunities that boost transactions, output and productivity—all of which will help to support the economy.
While we illustrate (literally) was has happened so far during the Covid-19 outbreak (which has been both a whirlwind and an eternity), we have decided to focus this issue on what happens next. That is why our feature, ‘Building for a new world’, dives into how living priorities have changed, and the importance of putting social wellbeing, health, sustainability and affordability at the heart of housing—something that lenders need to be encouraging when looking at future deal proposals. Some 31% of adults have had mental or physical health problems during lockdown because of the size or condition of their living space, and around 30,000 people have spent the period in a one-room home. We all know that this is not acceptable, and we must, as an industry, ensure that new business does not compromise quality. For starters, why do we say ‘units’ and not ‘homes’?
Flick to p.42 to find out how the specialist lending industry can encourage better building and, in turn, emphasise the importance of social wellbeing for all
“…It’s difficult to imagine that lenders won’t look to adapt, and it’s likely that those who don’t will struggle moving forward”, says one expert in this feature. Businesses which actively promote the need for better living standards will be in tune with the trends of what and where people will want to rent and buy and, during a time of great uncertainty, this should be a no-brainer.