NHCC at the RESI Convention 2018

NHCC were at RESI 2018 this year and found the Convention thought-provoking and informative.NHCC were at RESI 2018 held at Celtic Manor from 12th – 14th September. We thoroughly enjoyed this event, which was original and thought-provoking as well as a great opportunity to network with key people from the property and construction industries. Here are some highlights from the event.

This year RESI was all about “Debate. Diversity. Delivery” in the industry and featured some innovative events such as the RESI Trailblazers (celebrating up and coming talent in the industry) and the RESI Hackathon, which brought together property veterans and tech-savvy start-ups to create a solution to the “rental perception problem” by devising an app that appeals to “Generation Rent”.

There were a few presentations from house building experts that we found particularly informative and interesting at the event this year.

In a departure from the annual treat that is the Lucian Cook statistical overview, this year he was joined on stage by Lawrence Bowles to form a strong Savills double Act. They presented an interesting overview of the housing market. Over the last five years first time buyers have increased by 68% and home moves were up by 16%. Much of this increase in house-buying activity is due to the hugely successful Help to Buy scheme which accounted for 1 in 6.4 homes sold at launch in 2013 but has now risen to 1 in 4.5 homes sold.

They also presented some interesting survey results from Housing Associations:

  • In 2017 71% of Housing Associations saw Government policy as a major constraint but in 2018 that figure has dropped to only 24%.
  • Availability of land and grants are now cited as the main constraints.
  • 38% of Housing Associations are very likely to partner or JV with developers over next 5 years.

Tony Pidgley of Berkeley Homes talked about the need for “additionality” and how planning issues remained the main constraint in his view, particularly in the South East. He compared London sites, where it took Berkeley Homes 3-5 years to gain planning permission plus another 2 years to agree Section 106 obligations, to their new venture in Birmingham which saw planning granted in only 16 weeks.

Faye Wall, Future Talent Manager at Taylor Wimpey, reported on how Taylor Wimpey are tackling the skills and workforce shortages in the building industry. Traditionally house builders have relied on subcontractors to help them manage the cyclical nature of the UK’s housing market. But with growing skills and labour shortages, Brexit, Government pressure and no end to the shortage of housing supply in the foreseeable future, Taylor Wimpey is recruiting directly-employed trades to help bridge the skills gap and protect their build production capacity for the future.

Tim Hall from Build Offsite talked about the industry’s growing offsite production sector. With pressure from the UK Government to build more homes quickly, affordably and to a high standard, he expects the sector to increase its supply to the residential housing market from around 23,000 units currently to 150,000 units over the next few years.

Kit Malthouse MP, Housing Minister (who, refreshingly, used to be a commercial property developer) delivered a speech on the challenge set for him by Theresa May – delivering “More, Better, Faster” housing in the UK.

The UK housebuilding targets set by the Government are generally considered unachievable by the housebuilding industry, but Housing Minister insisted there are positive signs – net additions to housing are up 50% since 2010 and the number of issued Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs), a key indicator of housing growth, were up to 60,000 in the first quarter of 2018.

He thanked the industry for what’s been done to date but stressed that we have to keep up the momentum to reach the 300k target, which he firmly believes is achievable.

NHCC is here to help

To meet the “Better” challenge laid down the Prime Minister, the industry needs to focus on and invest in its completion and after care services. There is huge demand for new housing, but housebuilders need to remember that a house becomes a home at completion, and a different set of skills and a different approach to customer care is needed from that point.

NHCC and its experts can help house builders meet the high expectations of their customers in a cost effective and measurable way – NHCC can manage pre-completion inspections, customer courtesy visits, snagging and remedial repairs as well as provide data and insights into the service being delivered. Please get in touch to find out more.