Throughout 2014, the UK housing market has shown continuing signs of improvement. The number of transactions has increased and the pent up demand has subsequently seen prices rise.
In the south-east of England where Inland Homes predominantly operates, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that property prices have soared by 11.6% in the year to August 2014. With growth in employment expected in the south east over the next decade, housing demand and prices are set to continue rising.
Government schemes such as Help to Buy, Build to Rent and the Builders Finance Fund have seen new housing supply rising, with new housing starts at 137,780 in the 12 months to June 2014, up by 22% compared to the year before.
However, there are currently insufficient new houses being built to keep up with the growing demand, which is estimated at over 250,000 units p.a., and demand is approximately double what is being built. With an ageing population meaning fewer occupants per property, the long term shortage of homes is likely to continue.
In terms of buyers, Government schemes such as Help to Buy are building on these signs of recovery. The Help to Buy home ownership scheme will run until 2020. Over half of the 114 private completions this year used this scheme.
There is also the Build to Rent Fund, which was launched to stimulate new private rented housing supply. It is anticipated that the fund will be used to finance the building of over 200 apartments at DGV being sold to a PRS investment fund.
The UK Government's reforms to make the planning system less complex and easier to understand has recently resulted in a change of legislation to promote office to residential conversion under "prior approval notification" procedures, and this has been useful on one of the Group's projects.
Inland Homes sells the majority of its houses to UK purchasers. However, recently it sold 14 apartments from the West Plaza, Ashford, Middlesex development to customers in Hong Kong. There is evidence that overseas demand for UK property is strong, with 15% of all new buildings in London now purchased by foreign buyers.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that property prices in the south east have soared by 11.6% in the year to August 2014