One-on-one interview: David Bentley of Bidwells
Marc Da Silva’s ongoing series of interviews with senior figures in the UK housing industry continues as he heads east to put the questions to David Bentley, head of new homes for estate agents Bidwells.
What regions do you cover? We sell new build homes in Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk.
What are housing market conditions currently like in those areas? The pace has slackened off slightly since the end of 2014 although some of our prime areas have hit the ground running this year, with the benefit of some great new launches in St Albans, Norwich and Cambridge.
What types of new build homes is your firm selling and at what price range? We cover the full spectrum through all of our town, city and village schemes. This ranges from apartments at £150,000 to £1.5million and family homes currently from £200,000 to £2million. Our product range is as broad; from starter units and prime investor stock through to traditional family housing and ‘uber’ contemporary living.
Why should more buyers consider purchasing a new build home as opposed to older property? New has always been an attractive option for many but now, with the added benefits of running costs and efficiency, not to mention the many options available through clients part exchange or similar schemes offered to improve the convenience of buying and selling, the idea of buying a ‘one-stop shop’ has become even more appealing. Let's also not forgot the thrill of buying new, offering a blank canvas project as well as the opportunity to mould your own home effect, which always plays a significant part.
Is it worth buying property during the off-plan stage of construction? Traditionally those that take the initial leap of faith and buy early, generally reap the rewards of improving house prices as the development evolves, and street scenes establish. Many clients like to get some early reservations under their belt which always builds confidence, and gathers the momentum of any scheme.
What’s your property market prediction for the rest of 2015? The future looks healthy. We do need to get through the political hurdle of the election and then I expect it will be business as usual. Long-term interest rates are very strong, which is a key driver for the market, but we still need our supply line replenishing over all our regions, as stock levels continue to struggle which adds more fuel to the price growth fire.