Marc Da Silva continues his ongoing series of interviews with senior figures from the UK housebuilding industry by posing the questions to Angela McKimmie, sales and marketing director of regional developer Heronslea Group.
Where in Hertfordshire is Heronslea Group developing new homes? Our focus has very much been on building quality homes - apartments and houses - in the super suburbs of North London, Middlesex and Hertfordshire. Our current Hertfordshire developments are in Borehamwood, Bushey and Radlett.
What are housing market conditions currently like in those areas? The Oyster Card can be used as far out as Bushey and Borehamwood so that commuting into central London and Docklands, for example, has increased the demand not only for first-time buyers, but also for growing families that want a better work and lifestyle balance by living closer to the countryside. Radlett also has excellent National Rail connections to central London.
The demand for new housing in these super suburbs is growing fast with excellent schools, a good choice of shops, restaurants, place of worship and mature community facilities.
What types of properties is your firm developing? We build everything from individual bespoke houses to small select developments of family houses and luxury apartments. We focus on sustainable developments on under-utilised sites that offer real local improvements in not only new homes but also in improving the environment and fabric of the area.
What projects in Hertfordshire are Heronslea Group working on and what is in the development pipeline? A flagship development that is launching later in the year is at Windmill Place in Bushey. This attractive new residential neighbourhood of 51 one-, two-, three-, and four-bedroom houses and apartments is uniquely set around a ‘village green'.
‘The White House' in Radlett is a six-bedroom, six-bathroom bespoke luxury family house with around 4,200 sq ft of accommodation.
Quartette at Borehamwood comprises four luxury four-bedroom family homes. The White House in Bushey is an exclusive collection of 16 one- and two-bedroom luxury apartments.
At Heronslea we have tapped into the downsizer market with our apartments at Herons Court in Radlett, for example, which have been designed to deliver the quality and feel of a house. For example, they provide spacious rooms throughout with extra-high ceilings, halls are especially large, meaning that ‘cherished' existing furniture will easily fit in and buyers have ample space for entertaining.
The increased demand from growing families and first-time buyers for a varied range of homes is also catered for by mixed unit developments such as Windmill Place and smaller mews-style developments such as Cobden Mews in Radlett where eight four-bedroom family homes have been built.
People are also moving out of town, from apartments in Hampstead and Finchley, to perhaps be nearer their children and grandchildren and find that they can get a higher specification home at a more attractive super suburb price.
How much does a new home by Heronslea Group typically cost to buy? Currently individual bespoke houses are priced up to £7m. But we have four-bedroom family houses from approximately £800,000, which our apartments range from £499,950 to £2.7m.
Why should more buyers consider buying a new-build home as opposed to older property? The main considerations are potential low maintenance, the usage of the very latest in materials, finishes, building techniques, low-energy and eco-friendly technology and materials. Together with being able to move in and start enjoying their new home without needing to start refurbishing or redecorating.
Is it worth buying property during the off-plan stage of construction? Off-plan advantages are the opportunity to be sure of getting the home of your choice and at a price set at the time of purchasing off-plan. There may also be opportunities for purchasers to have the choice of some finishes to bathrooms and kitchens.
What is Heronslea Group's USP? We are a family business and private company run by two brothers, with over 50 years combined experience, offering exceptional attention to detail, with quality of specification and finish. We are very customer-focused, designing homes for today's contemporary lifestyle. Our properties all provide a feeling of ‘home' and we have a dedicated customer service department.
Which of your current new-build developments do you think stands the best chance of winning a WhatHouse? Award? Currently, our flagship development is Mill Hill Place in Hammers Lane, Mill Hill, which features a collection of 38 luxury two- and three-bedroom apartments and penthouses. To come, we have The White House, Sparrows Herne, Bushey, with 16 luxury one- and two-bedroom apartments and secure underground parking.