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Title: The rise of the national housebuilder : a history of British housebuilders through the twentieth century
Author: Wellings, Fred.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3565 6913
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2005
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Part I of the thesis presents a supply side matrix of the housebuilding firms from the 1930s onwards, identifying all the larger housebuilders at key stages in the industry's development, and tracing the growth in concentration form the local developers of the inter-war period to the national housebuilders that dominated the industry at the end of the century. For each period, the largest housebuilders are identified and the market share of the top ten firms is calculated. It is believed that every housebuilder that has attained an annual output of at least 1,000 units has been included, with a 500-unit threshold for the pre-war and early post-war periods. By the end of the century, the top ten private housebuilders accounted for over 40 per cent of the industry's volume output, compared with around six to seven per cent in the 1930s. Some 200 companies have been studied in the preparation of the thesis and the individual histories of the 72 firms that met the size criteria above have been presented on an accompanying disc. Part II uses the corporate data to analyse the reasons for both the growth and decline of housebuilding businesses. The thesis rejects the contention that increased size is necessitated by economies of scale and scope, the former scarcely relevant and the latter largely offset by the managerial diseconomies of regional structures and dilution of entrepreneurial flair. Corporate decline has impacted heavily on the structure of the industry, and this is attributed to succession issues, lack of focus and the severity of the 1974 and 1990 recessions. The thesis concludes with an alternative explanation for the emergence of national housebuilding organisations. If economies of scale do not necessitate the creation of large housebuilders, the driving forces must lie elsewhere. They are considered to be, in no particular order, financial with the stock market playing a key role in facilitating acquisitions and in demanding growth from its constituent companies. Secondly, the personal ambition that motivates some businessmen to seek growth and size for their own sake. Finally, the quality of judgement that allows some housebuilders, but not others, to avoid over-expansion ahead of a major downturn in the housing cycle; in doing so, they create a 'pool of survivors' that are able to take full advantage of the next upwards phase of the housing cycle.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: acquisitions ; building firms ; housebuilding ; recession ; builder ; developer ; housebuilder ; emergence ; market