Buying land for development can be lucrative for a developer but it can also carry a great deal of potential risk. A land purchase that is not researched can slow down development plans and require significant expenditure – something that developers will want to avoid if at all possible.

Here we look at some of the key aspects that developers look for when buying land. 

Planning consent

Land that has had planning permission granted is often more attractive to potential buyers as they can have confidence that they will be able to build housing on the land in the future. Depending on the type of planning permission the land holds, outline planning permission (OPP) or detailed or ‘full’ planning permission (DPP), interested developers may still need to invest in the planning process in order to reach a plan they are happy to proceed with.

A developer may still be interested in land even if it does not have any planning consent. It is possible for an agreement to be reached for the developer to buy the land on the basis of future planning consent being granted.


They don’t say ‘location, location, location’ for nothing and land that is in a popular area with good access to nearby schools and amenities will always be an attractive proposition for a developer. Land in very popular areas where plots for sale are rare will often lead to a developer being willing to pay a higher price.

A developer is likely to spend some time researching the local transport links, shops and amenities that are close to a plot of land they plan to develop. Any future investment plans for the area may also be of interest to developers as this is likely to indicate a potential boost to the local area and therefore the price of its housing.

Access and infrastructure

When buying land for a housing development, a developer will want to be sure that they won’t encounter any access issues down the line that could delay or disrupt the development. They will therefore look at all rights of way and access points to ensure that the eventual owners will be able to get to their properties. 

A developer will also want to know about any public access on the land, such as footpaths, so these can be worked into their plans.


A developer will need to be satisfied that adequate drainage will be available before making a purchase. If land is on a flood plain, extra investigations may need to be undertaken, or measures built into the plans for the land.

There is a lot for a developer to consider before buying a plot of land. Developers have a great deal of resources at their disposal and will usually be happy to spend some time (and potentially money) to ensure their investment will be a sound one.

By seeking advice from a land and development consultant, a landowner can position themselves to make the most of their position and optimise the price of their land. For more information on our services for landowners, please get in touch.

Preston Office
Telephone: 01772 458866
Blackburn Office
Telephone: 01254 260196
Clitheroe Office
Telephone: 01200 320040
Lancaster Office
Telephone: 01524 899850
Manchester Office
Telephone: 0161 265 0070
Lea Hough is a trading name of Lea Hough & Co LLP, which is a Limited Liability Partnership registered in England and Wales under partnership number OC306054.
Registered Office: Oakshaw House, 2 Capricorn Park, Blakewater Road, Blackburn, Lancashire, BB1 5QR