Marc Da Silva continues his series of interviews with key figures in the housebuilding industry by speaking to Claire Jarvis, sales director of Redrow Homes (Lancashire).
Where in Lancashire is your firm developing new homes?
Redrow's Lancashire division is based near Chorley, and as well as building homes throughout Lancashire, it is also active in parts of Greater Manchester and Merseyside.
What are housing market conditions currently like in those areas?
North West locations where people aspire to live have been particularly buoyant. For example, our combination of family homes, stylish apartments and luxury detached villas has been very popular in Lytham, on the Fylde Coast. Good commuter links are also important and our Heritage Collection homes close to the end of the M62 in Liverpool are also extremely popular. In all locations, the Help to Buy scheme has been particularly successful and has given the first-time buyer market a much needed boost. This, in turn, has helped stimulate demand higher up the housing chain.
What types of properties is your firm developing?
Redrow builds everything from starter homes to luxury detached villas. Central to our success is the traditionally styled Heritage Collection, which successfully marries Arts & Crafts inspired exteriors with high specification interiors for 21st century living. Within this award winning collection we offer a full range, from two- and three-bedroom properties ideal for downsizers, young professionals and first-time buyers, up to four- and five-bedroom detached family homes.
What projects is Redrow Lancashire working on and what's in the development pipeline?
Our current developments are spread from Lancaster in the north down to Wigan; and from Liverpool in the west across to Rochdale; with a concentration of new homes around the Preston and Chorley area of central Lancashire.
It's all about ‘location, location, location' and we have a number of new outlets set to open this year in places where we expect demand to be high. These include Heritage Green in Culcheth, a sought-after village between Liverpool and Manchester; Lawson Rise in Whalley, one of the Ribble Valley's most picturesque villages; and Canal View in Garstang, the ever-popular, historic market town pleasantly located between Preston and Lancaster.
We've also just announced an exciting new partnership with Liverpool City Council, affordable housing provider Liverpool Mutual Homes (LMH) and its building contractor Willmott Dixon, which will see Redrow Homes and LMH jointly build 1,500 new homes and LMH will bring 1,000 back into use across the city.
How much does a new home by Redrow Lancashire typically cost to buy?
Our average selling price is £225,000, however across the region we have properties ranging from £89,995 for a two-bedroom apartment close to Wigan town centre, up to £1.25m for a luxury detached villa overlooking the Ribble Estuary in Lytham.
Why should more buyers consider buying a new-build home as opposed to older property?
New-build homes are built to the latest regulations which means they are better insulated and more energy efficient than an equivalent size older property, which should result in lower energy bills. In some cases, buyers also have the option of adding PV panels and underfloor heating, adding to the homes' efficiency.
Our homes come with a particularly high specification as standard with top brand name kitchen appliances and quality fixtures and fittings throughout the home included in the price. Buying a new home also gives you the advantage of having a blank canvas to create the home you aspire to. You won't inherit someone else's DIY or decorating disasters and, because everything is brand new, there'll be little or no maintenance to worry about - so you can enjoy life to the full.
Is it worth buying property during the off-plan stage of construction?
The great thing about buying off-plan is it allows you to personalise your home and to choose the fixtures and fittings you want right from the start. Our online My Redrow tool is perfect for this; from confirming colour and style choices to purchasing optional extras or upgrades, customers can make their style choices any time of day or night. Getting in that early also allows you the opportunity to pick the best plots.
What is Redrow Lancashire's USP?
Without a doubt, it's our people. Redrow has a great team in place with many of them having been with the company between 10 and 25 years. Throughout every department you can see the pride people take in their work and the customers really benefit from that and their extensive experience.
Which of the developments Redrow Lancashire is currently developing do you think stands the best chance of winning a What House Award?
The Coppice, in Banks just north of Southport, has just launched with three- and four-bedroom homes now on sale. Banks is a lovely rural village surrounded by farmland and marshes but it also has great access to both Liverpool and Preston, providing home owners with the best of both worlds. It'll certainly be a winner with customers and I'd hope that this will be a future What House? Award winner too.