One-on-one interview: John Knevett of A2Dominion New Homes
Marc Da Silva continues his series of interviews with prominent figures in the housebuilding industry by speaking to John Knevett, chief commercial officer of A2Dominion New Homes.
Where is your firm developing new homes?
We develop new homes across London and the South East.
What are housing market conditions currently like in those areas?
There is huge demand due to a lack of supply of new homes across all tenures, whether it be purchasers or investors.
What types of properties is your firm developing?
We build anything from starter homes up to large executive homes and apartments ranging from £250 per sqft up to £1,400 per sq ft. In London, we have a range of homes and many high-density apartment schemes. We build in prime sites as well as locations with growth potential and close to great transport links and infrastructure.
In the South East, our sites range from small in-fill sites to large strategic sites and provide a mixture of houses and apartments for sale, as well as affordable tenures and private rented homes and student accommodation.
What projects are A2Dominion New Homes currently working on and what's in the development pipeline?
In London, current and upcoming schemes include Hounslow Quarter in west London, City Wharf alongside the impressive Wenlock Canal Basin in Hackney, Gunmakers Wharf next to Victoria Park and The Wharf, offering waterside apartments in east London. We will shortly be starting our prestigious Queen's Wharf riverside site adjacent to Hammersmith Bridge.
In the South East, our developments include Cereston in the village of Billingshurst, West Sussex, Marlborough Place in Ripley, Surrey and The Grove at Broadbridge Heath, also in West Sussex. We also have new homes for sale at two major regeneration schemes; Stanwell New Start close to Staines in Surrey and at Green Man Lane in West Ealing, a joint venture with Rydon and designed by Sir Terence Conran's architecture firm Conran and Partners.
In Oxfordshire, we're lead developer for the UK's first eco town, North West Bicester. We've just started on site for the first ‘exemplar' phase to build 393 energy efficient homes, creating the UK's first true zero carbon community. We've also worked with our partners to draw up the eco town's masterplan, which will steer its development over the next 25 to 30 years. Core elements of this include up to 6,000 highly energy-efficient new homes and 40% green space, including a nature reserve and country park. Other facilities include retail, leisure, nurseries and community halls and a health centre as well as schools, space for businesses and employment opportunities.
How much does a new home by A2Dominion New Homes typically cost to buy?
As we only develop in London and the South East, our average selling price is over £300,000. We also offer other more affordable tenures such as shared ownership and rented homes.
Why should more buyers consider buying a new build home as opposed to older property?
Energy-efficiency, and therefore lower running costs, are becoming more influential in purchasers decision-making. New homes have modern materials and better design and specification, meaning lower repairs and maintenance costs and all round purchasers knowing at the outset what their day to day costs will be.
Is it worth buying property during the off-plan stage of construction?
Buyers need to take into consideration the scheme and market conditions, but buying off-plan means you can have more choice over the finish of your property and if it's your dream home in your dream location, it also means avoiding disappointment.
What is A2Dominion New Homes' USP?
We reinvest all our profits into our group property business to provide much needed housing in London and the South East and to fund community projects. Our property team manages all our developments long after the final brick is laid, so it's in our interest to ensure standards are high. We see our customers as co-investors, so, like our properties, we're in it for the long-term.
Which of the developments A2Dominion New Homes is currently developing do you think stands the best chance of winning a What House Award?
I believe that the Green Man Lane regeneration, West Ealing; Gunmakers Wharf, east London, as well as Ascalon Apartments, Battersea, would all be worthy of winning What House? Awards.