Create your own Grand Design

publication date: Sep 24, 2019
author/source: Kate Faulkner, Property Expert and Author of Which? Property Books

You can now request the homes you want in your area


Up until the credit crunch, in the main, agents could make a good living from just letting and selling property that came ‘through the door’ - even if it was a digital one.


The market then crashed. Prices fell by 18-20% in most areas but worst still, transactions fell by 50%, with many property businesses and jobs being lost.


Although we have seen a good recovery in many places, according to the RICS, the number of properties available for sale is still at an all-time low. With Brexit, talk of a recession and possible Stamp Duty changes, the likelihood of transactions recovering anytime soon is low.


And, with the Nationwide reporting just 5% of existing homes coming onto the market, without access to new build properties, it’ll be tough for agents - and you - to secure the homes you and your family need to buy and let.


When it comes to ‘stock’, one of the reasons in my view that agents have a ‘bad time’ in the press is that unlike car and other manufacturers, it’s often forgotten that they have had little or no control on the properties they have to let and buy. Agents can’t just ‘magic’ new stock and offer the range of properties that you need at prices you can afford with a press of a button at a factory, but they take the brunt of the responsibility and backlash for not having enough affordable homes.  


However, it is now possible for both the local industry and you to input into what properties are produced so you and your family can have the full range of properties that you want, need and can afford.  


There are three things the industry and you can do individually to start driving the supply that you need, rather than relying on others to deliver:-


Local plans

By law, local authorities have to produce a local plan which identifies housing need and the supply of land to meet that need over the next five or more years. Some LAs have embraced this, some haven’t.


You know what your family and friends need now and in the future, so why not make sure you feed this into the local plan or better still, read your local development plan and send your thoughts to the LA about them and what you think they are missing.


New infrastructure investment

Although we haven’t had housing policies that have yet resolved the lack of new homes, the idea of linking better access to transport to the development of new homes such as the Oxford, Milton Keynes and Cambridge corridor is a good policy.


At the start of September, the new MHCLG housing team announced a plan to spend £3.6bn across 100 towns to develop proposals for regeneration. They are asking “Communities, businesses and local leaders” to “join forces to draw up ambitious plans to transform their town’s economic growth prospects with a focus on improved transport, broadband connectivity, skills and culture.” Source:


According to chief executive Iain McKenzie from the Guild of Property Professionals: “This fund can really help improve our towns and local agents are key to recommend the work needed in their local area on transport, broadband and regeneration that would make these areas more attractive to buyers and better places for people to live.”


So if you are an employer struggling to attract people to jobs in your area because it’s not quite as nice as some nearby or because it’s too expensive to live near to work, or you just really care about your local community and have some great ideas of how to make it a better place to live, then check out whether your town is in receipt of these funds and so you can have direct input into its future.


Do you think your dream of having your own Grand Design is impossible – don’t!

From April 2016, people were granted a ‘right to build’ which meant local authorities need to maintain a list of people who wanted to access custom, self-build or community-led housing. Councils must take this demand into account and help to provide plots accordingly.


And it’s so simple to register your interest – just fill in this form and you may get your own chance of a grand design in the future.


With homes coming onto the market less often, anything you can do to help with your local plan, to ensure more of the right homes will be built in your local area, and help make your local communities more attractive, can only be worthwhile.


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