One-on-one interview: Kirk Pickering of Ultrabox
In the latest of our weekly interviews with senior figures in the UK property industry, Marc Da Silva poses the questions to Kirk Pickering, founding partner and property director of developer Ultrabox.
Where in the UK is your firm building new homes? Ultrabox are currently marketing four contemporary designed 3,000-sq-ft homes in Woburn, Bedfordshire, and are soon to launch a development near Epping, Essex. We also have sites in Binfield, Burnham, Canterbury, Egham, Taplow, Maidenhead, Reading, Sevenoaks and High Wycombe.
What types of homes is your firm developing? High-end contemporary designed family homes with easy commutes to major cities and towns in the UK. Each of our developments is created to achieve the highest level of sustainability without compromising on design and quality; in fact to date all of our projects have achieved a Super Sustainable Code Level 5 from BREEAM.
What other projects does your company have in the pipeline across the UK? We are in negotiation on, or have secured, a dozen high-quality sites giving us over 100 plots and we would like to steadily grow this portfolio during 2015.
How much does a new home by Ultrabox typically cost to buy? Ultrabox product will sit just above the volume market in the premium and occasionally super-prime brackets. Our entry-level product will typically be priced at £700,000 to £900,000 but the bulk of our portfolio lies in the £1m to £2m bracket. For the right product in the right location, prices will be considerably higher.
What’s your property market prediction for the rest of 2015? As always, prior to any general election there is an air of caution within the market, a wait-and-see approach but we would expect transaction levels to rise again afterwards. Personally I support the idea of council tax reform but I am wary about mansion tax; council tax is established and functional and seems to me to be the logical mechanism with which to address the imbalance between the levels of property taxes and market values.