|You came into new build 22 months ago, what have been the key learning points for you?Where do I start! The last 22 months has been a steep learning curve, my previous dealings with the new build sector were very ‘light touch’ compared with now (takes up about 95% of my time). The key learns have to be:
– Just how much work there is to do to create and maintain a healthy housing market.
– The lack of new homes currently being built particularly compared with historic production seeing a record high of 425,800 units completed in 1968 (226,100 private sector)!
– Many lenders still risk averse to new build, in particular; high LTV’s, incentives, ‘new build premium’ and site exposure – BUT we are making progress!
– The stand out success of the Help to Buy scheme.
– Affordable Housing and the various schemes.
What does a normal week look like, or is there no such thing?
No one week is the same, the majority my time is spent in meetings with:
– Lenders (New Build and Affordable Housing proposition development, activity planning)
– New & existing brokers (support & business development)
– L&G colleagues regarding group wide initiatives and proposition development
In recent weeks, a significant amount of time has been spent planning both the L&G New Build Forum and the Custom Build Conference which took place on 20th March, bringing together lenders, surveyors, developers, BSA and National Custom & Self Build Association.
What parts of your job do you enjoy most?
I am very much a ‘people person’ therefore I enjoy most aspects to my job but I particularly enjoy engaging with our business/lender partners – adding value and creating that ‘light bulb’ moment.
What do you see as the biggest opportunities and challenges in new homes for 2015?
– An improving new build mortgage market – I do believe 2015 will see more lenders seriously enter the New Build sector, through marked improvements with their policy, service, product and support.
– The expanding Custom Build sector – a extending customer choice and improving affordability.
– 2014 saw around 200,000 permissions granted – impact on 2015 completions?
– Interest rates likely to remain at record lows until 2016/7 and House Price Inflation has slowed – both improving customer affordability
– Starter Home Scheme – when full details confirmed and lenders on board.
– Build, Build, Build – The UK still requires a massive expansion of house building, in order to achieve a minimum of 250,000 homes per year.
– Slow & steady growth from larger developers – SME’s ‘to pick up the slack’?
– Planning timescales – around 150,000 plots stuck!
– Lack of skilled labour and raw materials.
Have you got any secret talents?
I like to think I’m quite good at impressions and speaking in different accents – much to the annoyance of my wife and kids!
What did you want to be when you were a kid?
A jet pilot, I have always had a fascination with aircraft!
What 3 items would you take on a desert island? (i.e. you couldn’t do without)
Swiss army knife
I think that just about covers everything!
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