A new year, and with it, renewed expectations of market stability and a return to increasing sales. The possibility is that this scenario could become a reality for many in the window industry. 2014 was a year that saw normality return to the UK’s home improvement market – nothing spectacular, but a level that indicated better times were on the horizon. There has been a widely accepted school of thought that says a housing market recovery leads to a purge in home improvements nine months later. This notion has been challenged in the latest recessionary period with the time lapse extended to 18 months. Reasons are varied for this and include the impact of the Help to Buy scheme on the link between new-build housing, transactions and home improvements. More significant is the impact of rising house prices – meaning that homeowners need longer to recover financially from a house move. Taking these points into consideration and applying the revised time lag of 18 months, 2015 looks set to be a good year for the Home Improvement Sector.
Coupled with an election in May and more stringent mortgage lending criteria, these indicators should mean that the British public will very likely decide that 2015 is the year to improve their home. If evidence is needed, you can take comfort from the latest figures released from TrustMark, the Government-endorsed quality mark for tradesmen. The organisation has just revealed that it received 38% more enquiries for tradesmen in 2014 compared to 2013, and staggeringly, there was a 44% rise in enquiries for window installers and glaziers. With demand on the rise, it is important to capitalise on the opportunity. Pressure will be on manufacturers to maintain lead times and for installers and retailers to respond quickly to enquiries, turning around quotes and making the sale. In certain areas it is no longer about the price, it is more about how quickly the installation can be started and essentially completed. To support the returning optimism, this magazine includes the highest number of ‘good news’ stories we have carried for a long while.
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