Britain’s housing industry has been through the pain of the house market slump and in slimmed-down shape is coping with the new normal of much reduced sales.
In fact, the message from housebuilders is that sales have held up well in recent months, despite the gloom about the eurozone debt crisis.
And while no significant pick-up in the wider housing market appears to be on the horizon, there is hope for their new build market.
Housebuilders are placed to benefit from Government moves to boost building and help first-time buyers, including a mortgage indemnity guarantee scheme.
Under the scheme, the builder will put 3.5pc of the property price into a fund and the taxpayer an additional amount. The money can then be used to protect lenders from losses if the borrower doesn’t keep up with mortgage payments.
This idea is to encourage lenders to demand smaller mortgage deposits from the buyer, marking a return to the days of 95pc loan-to-value mortgages.
The Government envisages this scheme helping 100,000 buyers, roughly equivalent to the total amount of private new homes sold in a year.
Unsurprisingly, the industry has welcomed the plans, although it says the devil will be in the detail and is waiting for more information on how costs are shared.
But the hope is that it could mean homebuilders outperform the wider stock market in 2012.