With news of slowing mortgage approvals and house sales, you could hear an emphatic “b****cks”, echo through housebuilders’ boardrooms up and down the country.

We’ve probably hit the peak.

But are things that bad? With a rapidly improving economy and, hopefully, a gradual increasing of interest rates, conditions will still be benign.

However, things are going to get a lot more competitive as fewer qualified buyers have more choice.

If you haven’t already done so, it’s time to take the “b” word seriously: brand.

How do you differentiate? What’s your brand’s story of uniqueness? What makes you appealing in the eyes of the consumer (and it’s not the ‘housebuilder x difference’ campaign, which is not a ‘difference’ because it’s been done to death!)?

Get that right and you’ll not only get prospective buyers predisposed to your product, but prepared to pay a premium.

To the “our competition is the second-hand market” brand-cynic brigade, think the ‘c’ word: consortium (development). Why buy ‘us’ and not ‘them’?

We’ve been privileged to ‘think across sectors’, so we’d do well to heed the mantra of a German consumer super brand: invest as much as you can on brand activity in the good times, and turn tactical when the proverbial shiza hits the fan!

Think brand: the times they are a changing.