Staying ahead of the game: The future of residential development

15 Nov Staying ahead of the game: The future of residential development

The property sector is known for being relatively traditional and much slower to adopt new ideas, concepts and technology. There has always been demand for housing and with initiatives such as the government backed help-to-buy scheme driving supply at the lower end of the market, the industry is only set to grow. Conversely, we are approaching uncertain times with the implementation of Brexit and it is no secret that the UK is suffering from a slowing sales cycle. With so many challenges to navigate, it is more important than ever for developers to stay ahead and stand out from the crowd so the question of how to do this naturally arises.

With more and more noise to cut through in the market, developers are ‘very keen to create a brand’[1] and establish their presence. Finding a niche and working on a ‘signature product’[2] are some of the key drivers to stay ahead in the increasingly competitive sector. It is certainly important to strike a balance however; as the sector attracts more developers, there is already evidence of those with a focus on a particular area such as residential development looking to ‘move into other spaces’[3]. This in itself forces developers to work outside of their comfort zones. The solution is to strike the right balance, using the skills and experience developers already have and applying them in a creative way. An example of this can be seen in the introduction of co-living spaces; ‘in reality this hasn’t progressed a huge amount’[4] but there is arguably a great deal of potential. Similarly splitting an industrial unit into smaller, more easily rentable and liquid units could be a lucrative scheme. Modular construction has also been drawing developer interest. ‘Other developers are gravitating towards this’[5] and whilst the ‘complexity can cause concern for others’[6] if done correctly, it is the perfect opportunity for confident developers to maximise on.

Dialling back a few stages, whilst it is important to ‘make a product the best it can be’[7] and for developers to be creative with their skill set to attract the end user, perception is just as important to the land agent. Building up a strong social media presence to improve credibility is crucial to securing sites in the first place. With the ‘balance of information being more equal’[8], social media is a useful tool to publicise a portfolio, showcase developer values and experience and, build confidence in a land owner. Whilst social media cannot be considered ‘new’, it is in terms of being adopted in the property industry and being applied for sound business reasons. Social media lets the developer create a story for agents and customers to buy into and creates an easy opportunity for the ‘developer to distinguish themselves’[9].

Despite market uncertainty on the horizon, the outward perception of the UK market remains strong and there is little concern that external investment will dry up. Many see ‘London as a safe haven’[10] for growth and good returns. This suggests that there may well be opportunities to try out new methods and technologies for advancements in products and processes, the key is to find a differentiating factor and learn how to execute production in the best way possible.

 

[1] James Graham, Director, CBRE
[2] Daniel Hillman, Managing Director, Hillnic
[3] Matthew Firmston-Williams, Business Development Manager, LandInsight
[4] Raouf Belmouloud, Managing Director, Grace Charles Property London
[5] Laith Mubarak, Head of Acquisitions, Click Properties Limited
[6] Laith Mubarak, Head of Acquisitions, Click Properties Limited
[7] Daniel Hillman, Managing Director, Hillnic
[8] James Graham, Director, CBRE
[9] James Graham, Director, CBRE
[10] Daniel Minsky, Director, Estate Office

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