In many areas of the UK, the supply of decent, affordable residential property is failing to meet demands of local people and families. A report earlier in the year identified that some 340,000 new homes need to be built every year until 2031 to overcome the housing shortage.
Here in Lancashire, new housing developments have been relatively forthcoming and the Local Authority have their required five year supplies in place.
In this blog, we take a look at some of the important factors around new build residential property developments and the up and coming property hotspots in the region.
Property Hotspots in Lancashire
As we blogged about earlier in the year, Preston is certainly developing its reputation as a city to live and work. Judging by sheer volume, the North of Preston appears to be a very popular area for developers. Along the M55 corridor (Lightfoot Lane) numerous national housebuilders including Redrow, Taylor Wimpey and Barratt are building new homes simultaneously and will be doing so for the foreseeable future. Transport links in and around this area are attractive to purchasers, with the M55 and M6 motorways being located close by. The close proximity to Preston City Centre is also convenient. The numerous regeneration projects across the city centre are making it a more appealing location overall, especially for younger homeowners and the rental market.
The Ribble Valley (Whalley, Barrow & Clitheroe) is also proving popular as a location for new developments, again with a number of national housebuilders being present on various sites. The obvious draws associated with a Ribble Valley postal code, including its attractive rural landscapes and excellent schools, are evidently appealing to potential purchasers. Such post codes demand a higher price tag and developers are pitching properties in this areas at the more ‘luxury’ end of the market, with selling prices reflecting this.
In terms of up and coming property hotspots, South Ribble is proving showing signs of increasing popularity. A number of new residential developments sites have already been completed in and around the Leyland, Bamber Bridge and Penwortham areas, with more currently in the pipeline. The most notable of these would be the redevelopment of the Leyland Trucks test track, along with the Cuerden Strategic site at the end of the M65 motorway. Once completed, these sites will provide over 1000 new homes to the area, many of which will fall into the more ‘affordable’ bracket of asking price.
Factors affecting residential development in Lancashire
One of the main challenges associated with new build developments is finding suitable land. Although using brownfield land has its advantages, in that once completed the disused/abandoned site will be brought back into use for the benefit of the local community, offering improvements both aesthetically and socially. Utilising brownfield sites concurrently tackles issues such as vandalism and fly-tipping, with an overall uplift to the area once the development is complete.
However, Brownfield sites are more difficult to deliver and this has resulted in fewer coming forward recently. The main challenge for the development of brownfield sites are abnormal costs such as contamination and demolition. These impact on both the overall profitability of a scheme, but also add pressure to cash flow, which is an essential part of residential development. Locational factors also can be an influence, as brownfield sites are often located within a close proximity of industrial areas, which may well be off-putting for both developers and buyers alike.
Upfront costs for delivering such sites can be prohibitive for developers. There are opportunities for Local Government and other housing bodies to make a real difference by front funding infrastructure, something that is likely to become more of a priority as Local Authorities look to address housing needs for the longer term.