Figures for window and door sales last month [January 2022] show a 47% uplift in sales as the industry shook off the festive period hangover and got back to business. Lead generation more than doubled, up 105% on December’s figures.
Conversions, however, slowed, dropping by almost 12%, while average installed values fell by half to around the £4,400 mark.
Figures for the housing market are also mixed. House prices rose at their fastest annual pace for 17-years in January at 11.2% year on year and up 0.8% on December.
The flip side of that coin is that the figures were accompanied with a warning from Nationwide that the increase was based on lower levels of stock.
It warned with average house prices hitting £255,556 combined with wider inflationary pressures it expected the number of transactions this year to slow.
Underlying concern about the rate of inflation makes it likely that the Bank of England, which increased interest rates to 0.25% in December, will introduce further increases in the months ahead, something which is likely to further compound house price affordability.
A slower housing market would historically suggest a toughening of conditions in the window and door industry. We think, however, with many people still working from home, or moving to hybrid models of work, even if we see a slowdown in housing transactions, demand will be sustained into the first half of the year.
The hiatus of spring and summer 2020 and 2021, is however, in our view unlikely to be repeated. Sales in January 2022 are 14% down year-on-year on the same time in 2021. Compared to January 2020 (that’s pre-COVID) they’re 36% down.
As we have said before, we don’t see a cliff edge. Even if transactions are lower in the housing market, as long as prices hold up, homeowners will be prepared to spend.
But with further increases in interest rates likely, albeit from historically low levels, and inflation putting a squeeze on household incomes, we don’t see a repeat of the past two-years, which makes good business discipline – effective lead and cashflow management, as well as operational efficiency, important.
Designed by installers for installers, Business Pilot is about that – good business discipline.
We can help you track and manage leads, supporting the conversion process, while with drag and drop job scheduling and real time cashflow management, forecasting and reporting, we can help you make the most of the good times – as well as tougher trading conditions should they come.