Posted 10 December 2015 by Keith Osborne
Our ongoing series of interviews with senior figures in the nation’s housebuilding industry continues as we pose the questions to Greg Ketteridge, managing director of Careys New Homes, a growing company operating from north London to the West Midlands.
Greg, can you tell us about Carey New Homes and your role within it?
Careys New Homes is part for the Carey Group, a £300m business of which we are one of the six companies that operate under the Group (waste management, drylining, demolition, asbestos specialists and ground working civil engineers).
I am the managing director of the New Homes division and joined the company two-and-a-half years ago, with a remit to build up from three outlets and a turnover of £15m to where we are today, eight outlets and a turnover of £30m this year, increasing to £50m next year.
Where are you currently building, and what kind of new homes are you producing?
We are currently developing in Watford, Bushey, West Drayton, High Wycombe, Steeple Claydon, Elstow, Market Harborough and Worcester. We are building one- and two-bedroom mid-rise apartments; three-, four- and five-bedroom family homes, plus converting a Grade II listed school house into apartments, with a focus on the quality, specification and kerbside appeal.
Your business has grown quickly , but how do you see the industry as a whole keeping up with the new homes targets we need in order to meet demand?
Over the last few years we have grown from a £15m business to what will be a £50m business next year, which is in line with our business plan. The biggest challenges for Careys New Homes and the industry as a whole are very similar. In order to respond to the demand; firstly, address the acute labour shortage both in trades and management supervision; secondly, we need a faster response from the planning process it is taking far too long to get a consent and then to clear condition.
Have schemes such as Help to Buy been popular with customers?
Help to Buy has proved to be a very popular and helpful scheme with our customers. With 30% of our sales being Help to Buy, we foresee that this is likely to continue .The new announcement of 40% for London properties can only help.
Are you finding more people looking to move out of London to find better value in the Home Counties?
We are experiencing strong demand for properties within and around the M25, this may be partly as a result of the search to find better value outside of London, but also the Crossrail factor is also driving up demand in areas where it features.
What do you think differentiates your company and new homes for the competition?
The difference is we are a family firm and that means a more personal involvement from the senior management team in all that we do.
When we say we will do something, that is exactly what we do: our management structure is very shallow, so decision making is quick and not subject to main board, which is something you would hear from the big boys.
In addition to this, the pressures of half-year and year-end are nowhere near as great, so we have no need to place pressure on our customers to complete, which means working together to deliver and legally complete the unit in good time.
What developments are in your pipeline and set for launch soon?
Within our pipeline we have a number of sites that will be released for sale in the next quarter: West Drayton, one- and two-bed apartments; Elstow, a four-bedroom detached house; Market Harborough, three-, four- and five-bedroom houses. We also have a further three sites in the northern counties that will be released for build in the next six months – so a busy time ahead.
How do you see the property market in your areas of operation moving in 2016?
As far as the property market is concerned over 2016, I believe that it will continue to be strong, but with prices levelling off (I hope).
The buy-to-let market will be interesting as a result of the things the government have introduced which could have a big effect on the small-time buy-to-let landlord. But with Help to Buy continuing in 2016, this will continue to help drive sales throughout next year.