Residential: What To Look Out For In 2017

Next year’s housing white paper will hopefully cement the government’s commitment to housebuilding – but what will it mean for major London developments?
By Ashley Perry, Senior Project Manager, JLL

Next year’s housing white paper will hopefully cement the government’s commitment to housebuilding – but what will it mean for major London developments?

I think we can all agree that, at this stage, what the capital really needs is an achievable housebuilding target. Government needs to demonstrate that it has really thought this one through.

A pragmatic approach, along with a sensible set of targets and a commitment to delivery, will be a reassuring step forward in solving the housing crisis.

Private Rented Communities will be one to watch in next year’s white paper.

We will see, for the first time, direct government support and promotion of the private rented sector, with continued investor interest as local planning authorities continue to evolve their opinion of Build to Rent developments.

London will continue to support the growth of the Build to Rent market with recognised discount market rent as an affordable alternative and, almost certainly, we will see further support for institutional investment in this area.

Retirement living
Next on the list is retirement housing.

Currently the majority of government support sits with the first-time buyer end of the market and lacks incentives at the other end of the spectrum.

Over-occupation of larger residential property is a concern but there are some exciting developers such as Pegasus Life who are making a strong case for continued investor interest in the retirement living sector. Indeed, there is an untapped pot of equity that could be released if suitable developments, in strategic locations, are provided.

Continued innovation across the industry from the likes Legal & General, Pocket and many others is bringing promise for the future of construction delivery, given the pressures on skilled labour.

Alternative construction materials such as timber and modular construction methods are starting to gain popularity; however, it will take time for clients, consultants and contractors to fully embrace these new ways of working.

Emerging markets such as Build to Rent will likely drive this vision.

Community infrastructure
While the green-belt development discussion has its merits, housing should not be considered purely on the basis of land availability.

Housing, which forms part of a community’s infrastructure, must also be included in the conversation with policy-makers in areas such as healthcare, transport and education.

The upcoming white paper will hopefully bring a holistic view of infrastructure, devolution, planning policy, land, construction methods, and the future of living across all generations, whether it be downsizing, renting or buying a home.

Let’s hope this is the start of an exciting period for the residential market amid the hazy uncertainty of Brexit.

This blog entry by JLL Senior Project Manager Ashley Perry was taken from his regular column for Construction News.

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