Prime Minister David Cameron has announced that 13,000 new homes are to be built this year to tackle the current UK housing crisis. This year, the government will be pulling out all the stops to dramatically improve the availability of new properties on the market, providing high quality and modern accommodation for the many tenants and first-time buyers waiting to move in. (1)
This announcement will also help to encourage smaller developers to take on the challenge and begin to build rather than buy. The Government will arrange for planning permission to be granted at 5 locations across England and offer such sites to developers. Out of the 13,000 homes to be built, 500 homes will be available to smaller house builders. In addition, the incentive to build will be stronger still if the plans to increase Stamp Duty Tax as of April 2016 come into play this year. The proposed new thresholds for tax, would make building from the ground up far more cost effective for developers to build. (2)
If developers decide to jump on the new build band wagon and decide only build new build properties, this may be the Achilles heel of the the Government’s plan to tackle the issue of housing in the UK.
To Build or Not to Build
New builds have been criticised for many reasons, and unfortunately most of the reasons are often justified. The most verbalised issue people have with new build homes is the size and layout.
In order to make such homes cost effective and an affordable option for first time buyers, developers tend to opt for small, square rooms, with limited storage. For a modern young family, this can be an issue. If you’re looking to buy a home to start a family, you might run out of rooms before you know it. (3)
Often these rooms come with their own wafer thin walls. Again a great idea internally to distribute heat but for privacy or a bit of peace away from the kids, this can be a nightmare. Thin walls can also mean decorating can be a minefield, never knowing whether you’re going to hit the hammer too hard and knock right through into the next room. (4)
As you might have noticed, new builds tend to be identical to their neighbours and so can be criticised for having a lack of character, but character is not always to everyone’s taste. Some people enjoy the fact that they will be the first owners of a property and so are happy to sacrifice a bit of character for a modern blank canvas that they can easily put their own mark on. Dated interiors sometimes require weeks of scraping the walls, plastering and painting to get them near to the standards of finish of a new build property. (5)
If you buy a new build and decide to move on, selling can become an issue. With such small rooms, the type of person likely to buy the property is limited, meaning the property is more difficult to market. On the other hand, new builds do provide a great opportunity for first time buyers. Small can be cosy and most of all cost effective. In addition, due to their double glazed windows, electric heating and insulated walls, they qualify for many government incentives as well as many Help-to-Buy schemes. (6)
Unlike other properties, new homes usually come with guarantees and are under warranty for upward of 20 years. This means you can rest assured that if anything goes wrong, you won’t be forced to cough up huge amounts of money trying to repair or replace anything that goes wrong.
Refurbishment and Restoration
Arguing about the pros and cons that surrounds new build developments really comes down to consumer preference. But what if you compare building from the ground up, to refurbishment and restoration of old buildings. Which would be considered the best thing to do for both potential home owners and the environment?
The solution to encourage the development of as many new builds as possible, to tackle the UK housing crisis, is a quick solution, but there are alternative options.
Restoration projects can be like playing with fire. There are countless things that can go wrong and dramatically escalate your cost, but the finished project can be breathtaking.
There is something quite beautiful about owning a property which holds stunning character from the outside but is a complete transformation into modern day bliss once you get through the door. If you had the choice, which would you prefer?
The Government’s grand plan will help create more UK homes, but there are thousands of empty buildings in dying need of some TLC that could easily house local people. With a little help, such buildings could breathe new life into local communities and provide beautiful and iconic homes.
The Heaton Group have taken on such developments and have restored many dated buildings to provide high-quality modern accommodation for local people.
If you want to know more about the investment opportunities we have available please contact our team.