Housebuilders face probe from competition watchdog

Evidence of possible information sharing which could have affected house prices has been found by the regulator.
Housebuilders face probe from competition watchdog
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Some of the UK’s biggest housebuilders are being investigated over whether they have been sharing information which could influence house prices.

The Competition and Markets Authority has launched the probe after a year-long investigation into housebuilding in England, Wales and Scotland.

It also said “significant intervention” in the market was needed to ensure enough homes were built to meet demand.

The watchdog also raised concerns over the quality of new homes.

The CMA said that its investigation had uncovered evidence suggesting “information sharing”, which “could be influencing the build-out of sites and the prices of new homes”.

CMA chief executive Sarah Cardell told the BBC: “Through our investigation we’ve seen evidence of potential exchanges of confidential, commercially sensitive information relating to sales prices and sale rates between some of the UK’s major housebuilders.

“Now we don’t believe that that’s a key driver of the fundamental poor outcomes in this market, but it is clearly critically important that all companies comply with competition law so today, we’re also announcing the launch of a new Competition Act investigation to look into that further.”

The housebuilders being investigated are:

  • Barratt
  • Bellway
  • Berkeley
  • Bloor Homes
  • Persimmon
  • Redrow
  • Taylor Wimpey
  • Vistry

The CMA said it had not yet reached any conclusions as to whether or not competition law has been broken.

Housebuilding companies listed on the London Stock Exchange saw their share prices fall in early trading. Persimmon shares fell by 2.8% to £13.74 each, closely followed by Taylor Wimpey down 2.7% at 142p.

A spokesperson for Bellway said: “We are reviewing the CMA’s report. Bellway has engaged and co-operated fully with the CMA throughout its market study – and will continue to do so.”

Berkeley declined to comment.

The BBC is contacting all the named housebuilders for comment.

Source: bbc.co.uk

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