How to Succeed at Property Development in 2019

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Continued reports of doom and gloom in the housing market could put off potential property developers but – as a number of our clients will agree – there are still significant opportunities in property development if you make the right moves.

We’ve been in touch with several of our most successful developer clients to find out their top tips for 2019, and we’re delighted to be sharing them with you.

Look Outside the South East

Recent figures show the gap between house prices in Britain’s major cities and average salaries is the widest since the financial crisis. Four of the top five so-called ‘least affordable cities’ are in the South East – Oxford, Chichester, Winchester and London. Only Truro – driven by wealthy holiday makers – bucks the trend.[i]

Conversely, the biggest growth in house prices has been outside of this region – in Wales, Northern Ireland, the Midlands and South West[ii]. Our client Andrew Livsey has recently completed a four-property development in North Norfolk after several years of developing multi-million, high end properties in the South East. He says,

“I’ll always retain a passion for developing in London, but it also pays to look outside of the capital. Here in Norfolk I’m just finishing a development of four houses, each with five bedrooms and the high-end finish desired by wealthy second homeowners from the South East. Build and land costs mean the same money in Surrey would only allow me to develop one large property. The challenges and risks are different in Norfolk, but a vital part of property development is the ability to adapt to the market.”

Get Your Finances in Order

Development finance can be incredibly complex, and Andrew recommends you establish a relationship with a broker and then stick with them to help them guide you through the process. Navigating your options and ensuring you provide the necessary detail to lenders at every stage can be a complicated process. largemortgageloans.com Founder and CEO Paul Welch explains why:

Look Out for Property Hotspots

Cornwall, the Cotswolds and areas of Dorset have all enjoyed huge success due to their natural beauty and proximity to major cities in the South East and South West. Finding the next property hotspot is not easy, but look at trends and, most importantly, consider where you would like to live.

Our client Paul Whitlock discovered a beautiful area of North Norfolk 15 years ago, where he bought a holiday home. He decided to invest in a nearby village and make it the site of his first commercial property development in 2017, developing a bungalow into a top spec, four bedroomed house which is now on the market.  He’s since bought up two more development sites, for which largemortgageloans.com has structured the lending.

Consider the Incentives

A number of areas of the UK have been earmarked for investment and development of existing villages and towns. Just a stone’s throw from Paul Whitlock’s development is the town of Holt, which has been identified for expansion. Paul says, “This gave me a good deal of confidence in a number of ways; firstly that development I was seeking on my site would be permissible and secondly that the amenities provided match the natural beauty of the area and would attract a high-end property buyer.”

Take a Long-Term View

The UK is facing unprecedented uncertainty, so it’s wise for every investor to think 10+ years in advance. If you’re looking to develop, sell and move on, consider where the market will be by the time your development hits the market. Rising interest rates are still on the horizon, so speak to a broker who can help you weigh up every aspect of your decision, and who can find you the best deal for your requirements.


[i] https://www.dailymail.co.uk/property/article-6657189/The-affordable-cities-buy-home-revealed-Halifax.html

[ii] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-46891182

Your property may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.

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