Top 10 housebuilding trends for 2017

Despite Armageddon being scheduled for shortly after a Brexit vote, then rescheduled in case of a Trump victory, we’ve all made it to the end of 2016 – with the exception of a few much-loved celebrities.

However, many will be hoping that 2017 proves less exciting. If there’s one thing the property market is particularly averse to, it’s uncertainty. This is doubly true of the off-plan property market, where projects may have to withstand several market cycles before they come to fruition. So what trends can we count on?

Build to Rent

The private rented sector has grown 82% over the last decade, and it won’t be slowing down in 2017. Build to Rent forms a large part of the Mayor of London’s Draft Affordable Housing and Viability Supplementary Planning Guidance, which will see a new wave of investment hitting the sector in 2017 and beyond.

Offsite construction

Offsite and modular approaches to construction, which can see a home built in around 25% of the time taken using traditional methods, will receive increasing attention in 2017. Six modular housing factories are set to open across the UK, courtesy of Chinese investment, which could produce up to 25,000 homes a year. This follows the damning verdict from the Farmer Review, which warned housebuilders must ‘modernise or die’.

Broadband

Broadband is becoming a basic utility. Sky recently asked housebuilders to consider pre-installing broadband to save their subscribers the frustration of waiting to be connected. Strutt & Parker’s latest Housing Futures survey revealed that nearly half of respondents would consider moving homes for faster broadband. Indeed, broadband connectivity was shown to be a stronger factor in people’s desires to move home than personal finances (44%) or access to public transport (39%).

Smart homes

Smart technology has hacked into the mainstream and made itself at home. You can read how we think homes will be upgraded in 2017 here.

Foreign buyers

Leave voters may have been disappointed that the referendum result spurred a wave of interest from foreign property investors. Many developers reported that the weakened pound lured overseas interest from China, the Gulf and India. After Trump stormed to election victory in November, many estate agents are now waiting for calls from across the Mill Pond.

Flexible homes

2016 witnessed the launch of the Berkley’s Urban House, which can be altered to suit the owner’s needs, and the prototype for a home which can rise on stilts to beat floods. The most important lesson from 2016 is that nothing stays the same. We need houses that can adapt to modern families, lifestyles and environments.

New infrastructure

Sites with development potential in zones 3 to 6 of Greater London have seen a marked increase in interest from developers in recent years, according to Strutt & Parker, as their focus moves out of the more exclusive and saturated zones 1 and 2 markets in order to build stock that is more affordable and easier to sell.

Inflation

Creeping inflation will remain a concern throughout 2017, threatening the UK’s competitiveness, driving up build and labour costs and putting pressure on interest rates. House purchase approval numbers were 9% down in November 2016 which sent the shares of housebuilders tumbling, and could send a chill through the housing market in 2017.

Article 50

The EU Referendum was just the beginning. Although many have reported the effects of Brexit are nowhere near what ‘Project Fear’ would have us believe, others have theorised this is because it hasn’t actually happened yet. No one knows exactly what will happen in March 2017 when divorce proceedings formally begin.

The Housing White Paper

The defining moment for housebuilders in 2017 will be the Housing White Paper in January. The Autumn Statement teased the industry with big money and big promises; the Housing White paper is expected to detail how those funds can be channelled into delivering more homes, quickly.

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