Concerns about the availability of bricks and roof tiles are being reported by housebuilders
Brick stocks did recover slightly in the slow period at the beginning of the year but are at their lowest level since the beginning of 2015, and represent only two months’ supply at current average demand. Stocks of concrete roof tiles are also at their lowest for some time (4Q2013) and represent less than two weeks’ supply.
Recent headlines in the press about a glut of brick stocks seemed to confound the statistics but on investigation these referred to over production by Lego. The Danish toymaker reported that they had ‘too much stock’ and were having to sell off excess stock cheaply. There are parallels with the makers of larger bricks who need to juggle their production to match demand, and as has been shown in the past, the capacity for increased production exists but takes time to come on stream.
January 2018 data for bricks reflects the shut down in the industry over Christmas but prior to that, deliveries had exceeded production every month since May 2016.
Production of bricks has risen steadily since the middle of 2017 to peak at 175 million in November 2017; however, deliveries have also risen over the period to 184 million.
Concrete roof tile stocks at the end of 4th quarter 2017 represented 2,492 thousand m2 of roof area covered. Deliveries have exceeded production in seven out of the previous 10 quarters.