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OPINION – Developers Must Prioritise Building a Community

Editors Note: The following content has been provided by Joseph Gurvits (featured Image) , Founder and Managing Director for Y&Y management.

The UK property market hit new records this year, with more people buying and selling their homes in the first six months of the year than we have seen in nearly 15 years.

As a result of the heightened demand, there is a shortage of properties on the market, contributing to the UK’s housing crisis.

Interestingly, this means housebuilders are now under pressure to keep up with keen house-hunters. Pair the demand with the material shortages experienced across the UK, and it is no surprise if developers are feeling the strain to keep up with the property market boom.

But despite this, those developers who are building – and planning new homes – must be aware of the shift in buyer trends following the pandemic. Now, we are seeing priorities shift for many – city dwellers opting for more rural locations, and old luxuries such as home offices and outdoor space are now non-negotiables. But what is more apparent than before is the need for new developments to have a sense of community. With buyers spending more time in the area – due to home working and less travelling – the quality of amenities on the doorstep is now at the top of the priority list.

City developers are noticing this buyer trend, and recent research shows that developers, especially within the capital – are focusing on building differently. Continuing to ensure their homes are affordable and of high quality, they now realise the need to put their efforts into creating convenient and community-centred developments.

For developers buying land where these things aren’t on offer already, it is more important than ever before for these – schools, pubs, shops, parks – to be a part of the development plan. Estate agent Jackson-Stops and housebuilder Crest Nicholson Regeneration published research into the views of more than 2,000 UK adults and found that amenities such as local shops were a priority for 98%, but on top of this 90% wanted green space, parks and walking paths.

Although a lot of market changes have been sparked by the pandemic, the idea that buyers are looking for more is not a new concept.

In July 2020, Eurocell PLC conducted research of 1,000 UK residents, 74% of respondents agreed that housing areas should not just be thought of as individual properties. Rather, they should instead support healthy local neighbourhoods.

So as housebuilders hurry to keep up with the active market, they must continue to keep this at the forefront of their minds and ensure they are offering more than just bricks and mortar, and instead [they are offering] a strong sense of community.

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