“Down £3.6bn in TWO WEEKS: The roof falls in on housebuilders”

“Britain’s ten biggest builders have seen the value of their shares drop by a combined £3.6 billion in the last two weeks as fears grow that the housing market is heading for a downturn.

Fears of a rise in interest rates – and mortgage costs – are growing after three members of the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee voted in favour of a hike.

Bosses at housebuilding firms have cashed in over the past 12 months, with payouts to senior executives running into tens of millions of pounds.

A downturn in share prices in the sector would provoke fresh criticism of managers who have already been accused of making hay due to low interest rates and taxpayer subsidies for the industry, rather than their own skill and merit.

‘There is a fear that interest rate rises could be on the way,’ said Clyde Lewis, an analyst at broker Peel Hunt.

He added that estate agents had flagged a slowdown in the market. ‘With the housebuilders it looks like we are fairly close to the top of the cycle,’ he said. …”