West Midlands construction industry upbeat on finance

Paul Fenner (Moore Stephens), Dr Louise Brooke Smith (Brooke-Smith Planning), Nigel Mason (RLB)

Finance in the Midlands construction sector is heading in the right direction following a sea change over the last 12 months, regional industry leaders have revealed.

Leading property and construction figures from across the West Midlands have reported they are seeing a greater appetite from banks and finance houses to invest in development projects.

The Birmingham offices of accountancy firm Moore Stephens, and property and construction consultancy Rider Levett Bucknall, are working in partnership with key figures in the property and construction industry to support and deliver best practice and lobby for the sector.

Paul Fenner, Head of Real Estate and Construction at Moore Stephens and partner in the firm’s Birmingham office on Calthorpe Road, said there has been a marked rise in confidence and lending during 2015.

“We’ve seen a big sea change regarding funding for construction, particularly in the last quarter,” Fenner said.

“The general outlook in regards to funding available was somewhat negative last year, with traditional forms of debt funding not there for many firms that needed it.

“A rise in confidence has certainly led to more lending opportunities in the Midlands region, which is extremely positive as the sector is often seen as a barometer for how the economy is performing.

“Figures have shown that the construction industry will account for nearly 50 per cent of the global GDP by 2030 – so it’s hugely important all the tools are in place to drive the industry forward.”

Nigel Mason, Managing Partner at Rider Levett Bucknall in Birmingham, added: “Construction business confidence has reached its highest level in 11 years in the UK and there is no doubt that the Midlands is feeling the benefit.

“This more upbeat mood is a reflection of the growing stability of the property and construction sector, and it is good news that construction finance is following suit and clients are much more optimistic.

“Developers still need to have the right story to secure funding, but it is encouraging that finance is increasingly there to allow businesses to flourish.”

Moore Stephens and Rider Levett Bucknall held the third of a series of round table events which brought together contractors, developers, financiers and lawyers to discuss issues facing the sector, including funding, planning and the skills gap.

The round table was chaired by Dr Louise Brooke-Smith from planning consultancy Brooke Smith Planning, and immediate past Global President of the RICS.