One-on-One Interview: David Jervis of Spitfire

Posted 4 January 2016 by Helen Christie

WhatHouse? talks to David Jervis of independent property developer Spitfire, which develops bespoke new homes.

What regions do you cover? Spitfire cover pretty much the whole of Central England. We currently have new homes sites, and are about to start on new sites, in Cirencester, Dorridge in Solihull, Knowle in Solihull, Little Aston in Sutton Coldfield, Ascot, Bath, Cheltenham and Stratford upon Avon.

Nationally, we are interested in building new homes in specific, desirable locations in the West Midlands, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire, Northamptonshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Wiltshire.

One of Spitfire's USPs is its ability to hand-pick the locations in which to develop new homes according to the prestige attracted to a particular area, and the exclusivity of the site. All our developments are situated in attractive, prime locations - whether we are delivering rural traditional-style family homes or contemporary urban developments.

What are housing market conditions currently like in those areas? The housing market is improving, but it would be wrong to say that conditions haven't been difficult for every housebuilder. Spitfire is fortunate in that both the product we deliver to our customers and the area in which we choose to locate our developments appeal directly to a very specific, medium to high end market - we offer a high-quality service, such as changing the specification of and bespoking the homes according to the buyer's individual needs.

There is a real sense of optimism returning to the industry, and it is clear that the market is improving, but nevertheless, buyers at every level are still looking for a quality product and value for money.

What types of properties is your firm developing? Spitfire prides itself in offering individual, bespoke homes to an aspirational market. All our developments are individually designed to complement their surroundings, ensuring that the homes truly reflect and enhance the location - whether that is open countryside, or historic town centre views.

Our product mix is just that - a real mix. For example, at The Forum in Cirencester, which is positioned at the heart of the historic town centre, we have delivered nine ultra-contemporary town houses built in local ashlar stone, with large, stunning balconies offering panoramic views across the town. Boasting the latest in sustainable technology, the homes are designed to appeal to a wide range of purchaser's, including professional couples, and down-sizers.

In contrast, at The Cricketers in Dorridge, we are adding the finishing touches to six substantial four and five bedroom family homes built in an idyllic rural setting within the Green Belt. All the homes have been individually designed in a traditional courtyard style, and benefit from the stunning views and rural aspect, including bi-folding doors, floor-to-ceiling windows and Juliet balconies. All the homes come with a large open-plan kitchen and family room at the heart of the property.

Aside from building new homes, Spitfire will also restore and renovate old properties, ensuring that we actively support the history and heritage of the UK - where the homes are part of a wider new-build scheme. In one of our latest developments, Hall Farm in Knowle, we are starting construction on 13 homes, including a new-build thatched cottage and manor house, in addition to fully refurbishing and converting two original barns.

As the company continues to expand, we will be looking for more sites in prime locations as we move into 2014.

How much does a new home by Spitfire Properties cost to buy? Currently, Spitfire is selling homes ranging in price from £375,000 for a three-bedroom town house in Cirencester, up to circa £1.75m for a substantial family home in Ascot, where construction is well underway on just three truly stunning homes about to be released for sale.

Is your company currently offering any incentives or discounts to homebuyers? At Spitfire, we're aware of the recent difficulties people have faced within the mortgage and housing market, which has affected people's ability to move home. Enabling people in a chain to purchase a new home at a Spitfire development, we currently offer two schemes: Part Exchange and Assisted Purchase.

Although Spitfire's individual properties are usually priced at over £600,000, a number of upcoming developments will offer homes starting in price from around £350,000. We are currently in the process of registering for the government's equity loan scheme, Help to Buy, which will be available on selected plots across select Spitfire developments.

Why should more buyers consider buying a new build home as opposed to older property? The benefit of purchasing a new home is that you save on maintenance costs; running costs are significantly cheaper, as new homes are much more efficient, and most of our developments incorporate sustainable features. Providing added peace of mind, all our new homes come with a ten year warranty.

All our new homes are thoughtfully designed with the needs of a modern lifestyle in mind, for example, the majority of our homes come with en-suite bathrooms to a number of bedrooms - not just the master suite. All of our homes boast large, open-plan kitchen and living areas, creating a real hub of activity at the heart of the home. Lastly, our new homes come with the latest technology in-built as standard, including designer kitchen appliances and surround sound audio systems.

Is it worth buying property during the off-plan stage of construction? Definitely! As a bespoke housebuilder, if our purchasers buy one of our homes off-plan, we're more than happy to tailor the property to meet their individual tastes and requirements. We have been known to remove walls for our clients, add in bespoke furniture, and change the layout of the property to meet our customer's lifestyle needs.

We're also happy to amend the specification of the homes, including kitchen fittings and appliances and bathrooms. We've even had conversations about adding an orangery to the side of a property before!

Which of Spitfire Properties' current developments do you think stands the best chance of winning a WhatHouse? Award? Hopefully The Cricketers - as that's the one we've entered into this year's What House? Awards!

With just six luxury four- and five-bedroom family homes set around an attractive landscaped courtyard, The Cricketers is idyllically positioned in a secluded location on the edge of Dorridge, adjacent to Dorridge Cricket Club. All six properties have already been sold off-plan, demonstrating the overwhelming popularity of the development - something that as a small housebuilder, we're very proud of.


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