When buying a house we are often told that location is everything, and this is becoming a key factor in the profitability for those companies concerned with building and selling homes, too.
House price growth has been slowing in recent months according to several surveys, but now appears to be climbing out of a summer lull.
However, those housebuilders exposed to the worst hit areas, London and the south of England, still face headwinds in the months to come.
House price indexes
Halifax's house price survey, published on Thursday, is the latest and makes for more optimistic reading following several months of slowing growth.
According to Halifax house prices rose 1.1% month on month in August, easily beating a Reuters poll of analysts that forecast a 0.2% gain. Annual growth rose to 2.6% in the three months to August from 2.1% in July.
"Recent figures for mortgage approvals suggest some buoyancy may be returning, possibly on the back of strong recent employment growth, with the unemployment rate falling to a 42-year low," says Russell Galley, managing director of Halifax Community Bank.
But the surveys don't all tally. Nationwide, the UK building society, compiles a similar survey to Halifax and found that house price growth slowed in August, with the annual rate of growth slipping to 2.1% from 2.9% in July.
Furthermore, Rightmove, the online estate agent reported a 0.9% monthly fall in August.
The one thing they all agreed on was that much of the weakness in the market was down to a dwindling supply of new housing and the squeeze on household budgets fostered by inflationary pressures and low wage growth.
Galley says: "Wage growth is still lagging increases in consumer prices, which is likely to add pressure on household finances and increase affordability challenges for some buyers."
And the areas where growth is slowing the most? The most expensive areas in London and the south of England.
Meanwhile, growth in the construction industry itself is slowing. The latest purchasing manager survey of the sector showed the PMI construction index dipped to 51.1 in August, the weakest performance in a year and edging closer to falling through the 50 level that indicates growth.
The headline index tells a slightly skewed story, however. Much of the weakness in the data is from slowing rates of commercial construction. Residential building activity rose at an accelerating pace.
So, despite the headwinds, the housebuilders that have reported quarterly earnings every day this week have, on the whole, beaten or matched forecasts.
- Barratt Developments - full-year earnings up 12% to £765m in line with guidance. Gross margin hit the target 20% level
- Redrow - full-year earnings jump 26% to £315m, beating previous guidance. Operating margin rises to 19.4%
- Persimmon - first-half earnings climb 30% to £457.4m, beating City estimates, while sales rise 11.5% as volumes of completed homes rise 8%
- Taylor Wimpey - first-half earnings up 26% to £335m driven by volume growth of 9%. Margin rises to 20.2%
- Grafton - first-half profit up 16% to £75.4m. Overall group margin up to 5.8%
- Bovis Homes - bucks the trend with an expected 31% fall in pre-tax profit, but recovery plan met with approval
The past year has been a period of growing uncertainty for housebuilders. Possible Brexit outcomes cast shadows over the need for such ambitious building volume targets, while the growing squeeze on finances as wage growth remains muted raises affordability issues.
Yet there has been much to help the sector through this period.