VIDEO | Sustainable solutions for tough times
The climate crisis has made more urgent the need for creative thinking in making housing sustainable – but in tough times, how do we make it happen? These questions and more were discussed at this roundtable sponsored by Close Brothers Property Finance.
A panel of industry leaders gathered to debate the Yorkshire market, explore where best practice can be learned from, and unpick how the regional housing industry can ramp up delivery in the face of rising costs and political uncertainty.
- Daniel Joyce, director, Close Brothers Property Finance
- David Cross, director, Sky-House Co
- Cllr Jess Lennox, executive member for housing, Leeds City Council
- Chris Thompson, managing director, Citu
- Tim Ives, director, Primhus Group
- Neil Tague, Place Yorkshire (chair)
The good news: demand is strong in many areas, particularly for smaller, well designed schemes meeting gaps in the market that larger providers aren’t catering for. Funds are actively in the market for single-family rental homes in bulk.
The bad news: More than a year on from the disastrous Liz Truss mini-government, buyers remain cautious and interest rates remain problematic. The national delivery target of 300,000 homes is a long way off, with estimates for 2023 at around 180,000 homes, and the volume of planning applications hitting new lows.
Council housing lists are “larger than ever” as hard-pressed local authorities struggle to catch up from the time lost to the Covid pandemic in updating existing buildings, along with advancing new projects – but proposals to bring forward affordable homes are finding willing partners.
For now, it feels like there’s a mismatch between the aspirations to improve energy efficiency and environmental performance, and the skills available to make that happen, particularly when it comes to retrofitting existing buildings – although , with the technology available, more should be happening to drive higher standards on new-builds.
More incentivisation for brownfield development could be an answer, along with prioritised planning and the reintroduction of the New Homes bonus to ramp up these sites.
Modern methods of construction (MMC) have a huge part to play, with one of the possible routes forward being developers pivoting from volumetric delivery to a more phased approach, making the funding issue more attractive to lenders.