Baron King of Lothbury, also known as Mervyn King former Governor of the Bank of England, is married to Barbara, a Finnish lady. She was his girlfriend in 1970 but distance and steam-driven telecoms conspired to keep them apart. Barbara went on to marry someone else and divorce - before being reunited with King in the late 1990s. They married in 2007 and King, who had never had children, was presented with two step-children and four grandchildren; and, in a Sunday Times interview, he quoted the Finnish apothegm “Grandchildren are the dessert of life”.
I very recently joined this rather large club and my Granddaughter, Phoebe, was one month old in March. The month also marked the 60th anniversary of The Treaty of Rome and it was the same one in which the UK invoked Article 50. Until the Treaty of Lisbon in December 2007, there was no legal means for a member state to leave the EU. The Rome convention sired the Lisbon accord which, in due course, begat third generation Article 50.
In the two trading days following the Brexit vote i.e. 24 and 27 June last year (with a weekend in between), the UK Housebuilding Sector lost 36% of its value and at one stage was discounted by almost 40%. But investors in UK housebuilders are clearly familial and, after a lengthy gestation, through 23 March 2017, the Sector nudged back above its 23 June 2016 level with an average gain of 81% in share prices across 16 companies.
Okay, two competing, putative offers for on-the-back-foot Bovis from Redrow and Galliford Try helped but only at the margin - and this brace of bids is now abandoned. But, in essence, the aspiration of the offerors spoke volumes about long term confidence in the UK and its demand for new housing.
In the same interview, King who would not say which way he voted in the Brexit referendum, did add the following: “30 or 40 years down the road, if you give people a chart of British GDP and ask them to point where we left the EU, they won’t be able to see it”.
Short term, though, the UK - like Phoebe - will learn to talk and walk in a new World and this is neither easy nor without risk; and it takes time (there may also be a dearth of international family support). If you are buying housebuilding shares for a granddaughter, no worries; but the easiest money you will ever make i.e. buying on the Brexit collapse has been made. Redrow, for example, bounced off £1 to more than £5 - and the average leap was 81%. Bank the gains.