John Duffin, Managing Director Keylite Roof Windows is BMBI’s Expert for Roof Windows.
Roof windows, one of the faster growing markets in the Timber, Sheet & Joinery Products category, continued to outperform strongly in Quarter 2.
The recent period of Brexit uncertainty weakened confidence and created short term concern among some merchants about some product sectors, but in Quarter 2 roof window sales were unaffected, which is to be expected as it reflects projects planned much earlier. One large regional merchant in the South East for example reports “booming” roof windows and roofing category sales.
Roof windows are mostly used in repair maintenance and improvement (the RMI market) and lower interest rates should encourage homeowners borrowing to fund home improvements. The UK population is growing fast and families need additional living space, so there is both pent-up demand and new demand for housing and the space to live in comfort. The combination is huge. While housing mobility remains an issue it drives the home improvement market which will further boost the prospects for roof windows.
In new build, national and regional house builders are talking about substantial increases in 2017 build programs and beyond. A stable political scene and lower interest rates should reinforce consumer confidence to borrow and buy.
Housebuilders also expect RIR (Room in the Roof) to become a more significant part of their portfolios. The combined effect of building more houses and increasing the proportion of new houses with RIR will have a very positive influence on roof window volumes.
On the downside, virtually all the roof windows purchased in the UK are manufactured in Europe. So, the slide in sterling’s exchange rates could lead to price increases as manufacturers move to reduce the impact this has on their businesses.
In summary, roof windows had a strong first half and we can expect a good second half in 2016.