One-on-one interview: Dale Wagstaff, Howarth Homes
Our ongoing series of interviews with senior people from the UK’s new homes industry continues this week with a regional housebuilder, with the questions being posed to Dale Wagstaff, managing director of Howarth Homes.
Hi Dale Wagstaff, please tell us a little about yourself and Howarth Homes.
Building is in my blood - I come from a family of builders and got a degree in civil engineering. I have worked for a number of housebuilders over the years and joined the management team at Howarth Homes in 2009, bringing with me a wealth of experience and industry knowledge. Working closely with our CEO, Adam Howarth and the rest of the team together we have transformed Howarth Homes into a successful, medium-sized housebuilder.
The overriding theme to our business strategy is to reduce risk, and selling the majority of our homes off-plan is a key element in achieving this. By selling early in the development process it also provides our customers with the opportunity to see a rise in the capital value prior to completion.
How's the property market in your region right now and can you foresee where it might head over the rest of 2016?
We have seen a real appetite for off-plan sales in the South East over the last 18 months. At our last five development launches, demand has been such that the majority of apartments were sold on the day. This is testament to the quality of the new homes we build and confidence in our brand.
We were thrilled that this confidence continued post-Brexit. To achieve a 90%-plus sales success at our last launch of homes in Hertfordshire in just four hours in this market is a very positive sign that bricks and mortar still offers a compelling investment. We are looking forward to releasing our Autumn Collection later this year.
What kind of homes is Howarth Homes currently offering?
We are busy gearing up for our next launch which is a wharf-style development in Uxbridge overlooking the Grand Union Canal.
Do you have a "star" development and if so, what do you think makes it so popular?
Panorama was our most recent and most significant sales success – quality apartments in central Uxbridge, where we sold 73 apartments in just five hours.
What is it about your homes and customer service which differentiate you from your competitors?
We create well located, well priced homes in emerging areas with excellent transport links.
How have schemes such as Help to Buy and Part Exchange had an impact on your buyers?
As our schemes sell so far ahead off-plan that we’ve not offered these incentives yet.
Have Brexit and the new stamp duty surcharge completely removed your potential buy-to-let market?
We were concerned that it potentially might – but then we launched our ‘Hertfordshire Collection’ the week after the Brexit vote and the sales result were excellent, so we’re confident about the future.
What's in the pipeline for Howarth Homes over the coming months?
Well, we have the launch of our Uxbridge canalside development in October and more to come in November, so watch this space!