• The key annual Conference for the London Resi Market returns on 6th March....
  • Join hundreds of delegates from both Private & Public Sectors at the Affordable Housing Conference on 19th March....
  • The Market Leaders in Student Housing from across the Uk, Europe & Globally gather in London on 14th May

Events Diary

Student Housing 2019

Tuesday 14th May 2019

Resi Development & Site Finding 2019

Tuesday 21st May 2019

latest news

Trends and opportunities in UK student housing development

The provision of student housing in the UK is currently the highest in Europe, with 27% of all students able to be accommodated. Despite higher levels of supply, the UK market is still a lucrative one for investors. We’re looking at where the current opportunities are for investment, the trends affecting demand and how external factors could influence the sector.

Regional property trends 2019

It’s an interesting time for the UK property market. Despite political and economic uncertainty leaving mainstream buyers waiting to see how the year pans out, reluctant to buy or sell unless they have little choice, it’s not all as doom and gloom as some would have us believe. We’ve examined some of the key regional property trends for 2019.

How is residential development changing in London?

After a peak in mid-2017, the London Residential property market is facing strain as low affordability and falling house prices contribute to a slow decline. A recent sales report by Molior London found that, removing Build to Rent figures from the picture, the London new homes market sold fewer units in the inner-city area in 2018 than every year since 2012. With these statistics in mind, we’re taking a look at how residential development in London continues to change.

The current opportunities for housing development

As the housing development sector has become more challenging over the years, the biggest trials investors face are land development issues – including identifying the right plots of land on which to build and securing the appropriate permission.

As we touched upon recently, updates to the draft National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) should provide developers with more opportunity and freedom in developing existing brownfield sites, but there is little mention within the framework of openings for development on alternative plots. We examine the current opportunities for housing development in the UK right now.

Brownfield land for development

Following a recent analysis by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CRPE), it was identified that enough space on brownfield land exists to build at least one million new homes, with the majority of plots already in areas that are in need of housing and have additional registers to be announced. Moreover, the draft NPPF encourages developers to identify opportunities to re-use as much brownfield and underutilised land as possible. These plots are ideal for meeting the requirement to contribute to the improvement of urban spaces and, in many cases, provide opportunities for large scale development, which local planning authorities (LPAs) are being urged to consider more leniently than in previous years.

There are risks associated with some brownfield land that stem from its previous use, as developers need to ensure there is no risk of contamination and other environmental health issues, ensuring thorough surveying and, in case of contamination, remediation is carried out. However, despite many identified sites across the UK lacking planning permission, LPAs should consider development proposals more leniently going forward.

Greenfield land for development

A Times report unearthed that the rate of development on greenfield land between 2013-16 was five times higher than they were between 2006-11. As such, local authorities are now much warier in releasing land and granting permission. Nevertheless, it’s not to say that there is no greenfield land available, and plots for small-scale development with planning permission are still common.

Moreover, it is still possible for greenfield land to be developed in a way which enhances its status in a way that did not exist previously, and some of these plots currently exist without purpose. A key difference between the two types of land is appropriate scale for development, but it should not be concluded that development of greenfield land is a blight on the natural landscape.

Despite the relief in pressure on councils to release greenfield land following the brownfield register, it has been highlighted by many experts that we cannot rely solely on brownfield land to solve housing issues across the UK as the plan to prioritise brownfield development to provide homes over the next few years, in order to meet the Government’s target, will not be sustainable for long-term growth and development.

Green Belt land policy

Whilst the NPPF has reinforced a commitment to the protection of Green Belt land, it highlights the exceptions that allow for local authorities to respond more flexibly to local need and create developmental opportunities. For instance, whilst the Green Belt is a protected area, brownfield land exists within this that can be utilised for Starter Homes in a bid to increase the availability of affordable homes.

Where sustainable development is possible, or normal planning and development policies would not be adequate, these must be detailed in any proposals affecting the Green Belt. Notably, the framework lists limited affordable housing and infilling or redevelopment of previously developed land as appropriate reasons for the construction of new buildings within the Green Belt. Thus, where prospects are identified to meet local housing need or transform previously developed land into a more impactful plot, opportunities for Green Belt development are still possible.

Sustaining a long-term plan for growth

Ultimately, and following the lessons learned with the growing rate of greenfield development, it would seem that a sustainable long-term plan will only be achievable going forward when a balance of land types can be considered together for the benefit of local need, as opposed to periods focusing solely on one resource.

The 11th Annual Viability and Planning conference is coming up on Thursday 27 September, with local authorities and developers from across the UK expected to attend. Book your place now to avoid disappointment or see our other upcoming events.

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive property market analysis and notifications of networking opportunities to your inbox.

Posted: 03/09/2018
Read more news articles