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Housebuilding - BBC R4 Today

Housebuilding - BBC R4 Today

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Published by Grant Shapps
Mark Clare, boss of Barratt Homes discusses the housing market and says that Government schemes are "absolutely working" to help get houses built and sold.
Mark Clare, boss of Barratt Homes discusses the housing market and says that Government schemes are "absolutely working" to help get houses built and sold.

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Published by: Grant Shapps on Jul 14, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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05/13/2014

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Programme(s)
BBC Radio 4 Today
Date & time
Wednesday 11 July 2012 07.19
Subject/Interviewee
New homes – Mark Clare
Contact numbers:
020 7921 2771
Simon Jack, business correspondent
:
We can talk to the boss, Mark Clare.Good morning to you.
Mark Clare, group chief executive, Barratt Developments plc
: Good morning.
SJ
:
Looking at these numbers, they don’t seem to tally with the moribund housingmarket at all.
MC
: Well, there’s no doubt that the market remains challenging, but what we’ve shownwith these results… that, even against that backdrop, we can increase production;we’ve generated substantially more employment as a result; and, of course, mostimportantly, we’re building the homes this country we needs. And we’re desperatelyshort of new homes.
SJ
:
Where are you building them?
MC
: Pretty much everywhere. I mean, it’s a myth to think we’re only building in thesouth east. Our sales have improved right across the country. There’s no doubt thatthe south east has stronger selling prices, but we are building right across England,Scotland and Wales.
SJ
:
I noticed that you say in your statement 20% of your completions were helped by shared equity schemes, and of those, two-thirds of that were Government schemes. Sothat means that these initiatives are working?
MC
: They are, they absolutely are, and, of course, there’s a new scheme that’s justbeing launched which will help tens of thousands of people get 95% mortgages. Andwe’re absolutely behind that, and we believe it will be very successful.
SJ
:
But they’re… some people have said there’s been limited take-up on that, becausethe lenders involved are still charging rates which are too high.
MC
: Well, I think it’s early days. The scheme has only just come in. We are starting tosee the volumes increase. We do believe it will be even more successful than previousschemes, so we absolutely believe it will make a difference going forward.
SJ
:
I noticed that the… shared equity means that you take some of that risk yourself,and you say that you are going to have nearly £200 million’s worth of equity on your balance sheet. Is that a risk worth taking?
MC
: Well, I think we have to recognise with the banks pulling back on lending over thelast five years, we have had to play our part. So we have stepped in to some extent.But we’ve very comfortable with the valuation of those assets on our balance sheet –but of course, as we move to the new schemes, then we expect those numbers to startto fall away.
SJ
:
 And what kind of houses are you building? I mean, some of the other housebuildershave moved away from the one and two-bedroom unit houses, or flats, into higher…more bedrooms, because the first-time buyers simply can’t get the financing. Is that still true?

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