Redrow, the leading UK housebuilder headquartered in Ewloe, Flintshire, anticipates a strong 2021 and outlines its views on buyer demand and preferences over the coming 12 months.
Matthew Pratt, CEO of Redrow, comments: “We are very excited about 2021. We entered our new financial year in a position of strength and, buoyed by the anticipation of the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out, we remain optimistic about ongoing housing demand and consumer confidence.
“Following an incredibly busy re-start when the stamp duty holiday was first introduced it’s inevitable that this urgency will regularise, however we expect the demand to remain high. We are currently selling well beyond both the stamp duty holiday ending and Help to Buy changes, as buyers progress purchases following a re-evaluation of their needs. Our regional focus and Heritage range of quality homes plays perfectly into these new priorities of desiring more space to live, strong connectivity and beautiful outside spaces to enjoy.
“Along with the pandemic, 2020 has also been plagued by Brexit uncertainty, as negotiations and parliamentary gridlock continued throughout the year. With both sides of the negotiating table committed to continuing talks, we hope that further clarity will be achieved in the coming days. This would be welcome news to buyers, as well as our suppliers and construction workers on the ground. Further indecision in the New Year threatens to hold the market back for months to come.
“We very much welcome the Government’s support of the housing sector and the recognition of its value to the wider economy, with recent research from the HBF and Knight Frank showing that each housing transaction results in a broader economic benefit of £9,559 on average. This research highlights the importance of a functioning housing market across all tiers and all demographics and shows why we must encourage activity from first time buyers right the way up to downsizers. It is vital that the second-hand market is as supported as new homes and we would welcome wider and longer-term reforms of stamp duty to support this aim.
“Sustainable homes that offer residents a more environmentally friendly way of living are at the top of our agenda in 2021 as we support the Government in aims to achieve zero carbon emissions by 2050. We’ve already made real strides in this area in recent years but will be doing more in 2021 as we seek to further minimise our impact and encourage greater household savings for our buyers. This includes a move to electric boilers, the roll-out of more electric car-charging points to meet the rising demand for electric vehicles and internally we are heavily focused on reducing construction waste and are also testing a variety of low carbon technologies to enable more sustainable solutions.”
In November, Redrow polled 2,000 UK adults to understand their views on their homes post pandemic and their desires as they enter 2021. James Holmear, Redrow’s Group Sales Director, comments on the results and buyer preferences trends that we can expect to see next year.
Working from home infrastructure:
- Broadband speed was the most challenging aspect of being at home during lockdown for 50% of respondents1
- More than half (56%) agree that having a separate study (or at least an area dedicated to homeworking) will be an important factor in deciding on their next home
“There has been resolute demand for homes with more space to live and work as customers reflect on their lockdown experiences. With more people expected to work from home regularly, even after the worst of the pandemic is over, space to work from home has rocketed up the list of priorities for buyers. Our spacious homes were already well-suited for home working, however our customers now have the option of adding bespoke-designed built-in-desks and storage to their new home to enable more comfortable and functional home working.
“We are also now more reliant than ever on broadband and along with water, gas and electricity, strong internet connection is now seen as the fourth utility. For many this year, a robust connection has been the only way to maintain both their professional careers and social entertainment and poor access can be frustrating, impact quality of life and even lead to isolation and loneliness. Today, broadband connectivity is one of the first things potential buyers want to discuss with us when they come to visit one of our new developments.
“Redrow homes are built with fibre to the premises (FTTP)2, which means that fibre optic broadband cables run directly into the home itself, unlike most second-hand homes on the market3.
Doing this limits the amount that can go wrong with residents’ connectivity and ensures that the internet speed supplied at the property is one of the best in the local area.”
Space in the home:
For almost half of respondents (44%) the amount of outside space is their biggest priority when moving to their next home. The amount of floor space was also important for a third.
Almost half (48%) see a ‘detached’ property as being their forever home.
“With more time spent at home, gardens are becoming increasingly important and are now the top priority for many buyers when searching for their next home. All Redrow homes come with a garden, terrace or balcony, and many of our larger communities are complete with village greens or natural spaces where residents can enjoy surrounding wildlife and nature, which can provide residents with mental health benefits. While this trend is one that has largely been bought on by Covid-19 and lockdown scenarios, we can expect to see this last for the long-term as Britons became increasingly aware of how important access to fresh air is for health and wellbeing. In the colder months, we’re seeing high demand among residents for gardens that offer the potential to provide snug entertainment spaces that can be quickly equipped with fire bits and outdoor kitchens.”
With working from home becoming the norm for many UK professionals, less than 10% are looking to live closer to their place of work in the future.
In fact, half of respondents (49%) are happy to move further away. 2 in 5 (20%) Londoners are happy to live an additional 45 minutes from their place of work.
“This year, city-dwellers have seen the benefits of living away from traffic pollution and crowds, and are now in search of a healthier lifestyle – even if this means looking further afield where they can find attractive price differentials that will enable them to afford the extra room they crave. There is now less need to live near a place of work, encouraging a general movement away from cities, and a willingness to commute further and less frequently. Our research found that a quarter (23%) would be happy to spend an extra 30-minutes travelling to their place of work and we’re anticipating a big rise in the ’90 minute commute’ which in future is only done a few days a week.”
Technology in the home buying process will become more prevalent due to increasing demand for buyers. The pandemic has accelerated these trends, forcing the home buyer process to adapt to an online ‘hybrid’ model.
“Housebuilding has traditionally been stuck in the dark ages when it comes to technology, but buyer demand is pushing the industry further into the ‘digital’ space and we can expect to see further advancements over the next year. Last year Redrow launched its online reservation service, which is accessed via our online member’s area, My Redrow. It allows buyers the opportunity to legally complete the reservation of their new home online and means that COVID-19 aside, our customers no longer need to visit our sales centres for a long reservation meeting. We couldn’t have predicted that the ability to look around plots and reserve homes virtually would be as important as it is today, but our investment in technology has meant that we have been well placed to support our customers who have still wanted to progress with their move during lockdown.”