Another year and another Property Week Residential Conference at Celtic Manor. As ever, the annual get-together was well attended by many of the organisations engaged in the residential sector and so proved a great opportunity to make new contacts, re-acquaint ourselves with existing contacts and to find out what the market is saying about the sector.
Now the dust has settled on another busy conference, our delegates have taken stock on the key themes emerging from the seminars, workshops and discussions around the conference centre:
The housing market has been resilient but there are some saying we may have seen the top of the market, particularly in London and the South East. Various key events (SDLT reform; mortgage market reform; Brexit Vote; Article 50) have caused dips in the market but on each occasion there has then followed a recovery. There is a feeling that the slowing of house price growth recently is a signal of a longer term cooling.There is no doubt that Help To Buy has gained significant traction and its importance to the build for sale market is evidentBuild To Rent is established and here to stay. No longer is it discussed about in terms of an emerging market or a possibility of the future. The Housing White Paper alone signals the significance of Build To Rent as a key model for delivering residential stockThe changing of housing minister with such frequency is not helpful. The market needs certainty if it's to deliver what is required to help address the housing crisis. Alok Sharma MP spoke about the need to follow through on the promises of the Housing White Paper and with every change of housing minister we risk the potential for that agenda to changeIncreasing inflation will lead to interest rate increases, the question is whenThe rhetoric and language around Build To Rent is increasingly customer focussed and there is a call for the build for sale market to follow suit. Grenfell has, quite rightly, focussed people's attention on what is really important around the provision of accommodation. Safety and standards are at the top of the agendaRegistered providers have a major opportunity to be key players in the creation of new places and their ability to deliver customer focussed residential schemes is as important now as it ever was.
Nigel Emmerson, partner and head of residential and housing sector:
"The overriding theme from this year's conference is that of customer focus. The mind-set is shifting towards housing being a consumer product. The message to developers and investors in the residential sector is clear – housing must work for the consumer."
Tom Willows, partner:
"There has been a marked transition around the status of the build to rent sector. No longer is it talked about as something new and emerging. It has gained traction and is here to stay. We're excited to be working with so many in the sector and there's a real buzz around the conference about the number of build to rent projects now coming out of the ground."