One-on-one interview: Marie Morris of Elan Homes
Marc Da Silva continues his series of interviews with some of the biggest names in housebuilding by speaking to Marie Morris, sales director of Elan Homes North.
Where in the region is your firm developing new homes?
In the North West our current sites are mainly in Cheshire, North Wales and Merseyside, although we are progressing sites in Greater Manchester and would consider building in Lancashire. Current sites include Fern Lea in Farndon; Gosling Park in Croft near Warrington and Vicarage Fields in Haslington near Crewe. We're also selling new homes at Carnatic Court in Liverpool and at Heritage Park in Penymynydd in North Wales; while our Southern business operates in the South West and South Wales.
What are housing market conditions currently like in those areas?
In line with national trends we've seen an improvement in market conditions in our areas of operation since the latter part of 2013. Consumer confidence has increased and this has led more people to think about moving. Rising prices are spurring homeowners on to sell up and move on; while Help to Buy equity loans are making homeownership easier to afford for both first time buyers and those making their next step on the property ladder.
What types of properties is your firm developing?
In the North West we are very much in the business of building and selling family homes. Typically our developments offer a choice of three-, four- and five-bedroom semi-detached and detached properties with high specification, modern interiors designed for ease of living.
What projects are Elan Homes working on and what's in the development pipeline?
We are working towards opening a show home at our exclusive Carnatic Court venture in the sought-after Mossley Hill Conservation Area in the L18 district of Liverpool, which will give buyers a taste of the luxurious lifestyle available. We are also soon to launch Vicarage Fields in Haslington, offering 31 homes for private sale including three- and four-bedroom designs. We have lots of exciting plans in the pipeline, including a development in Tarporley. But we don't want to rest on our laurels and are constantly on the look-out for land with development potential.
How much does a new home by Elan Homes typically cost to buy?
Costs are location driven and will also depend on the style and size of the property. For example, at Fern Lea on Farndon we have four-bedroom homes from £329,995, while at Carnatic Court in Liverpool five-bedroom properties are available from £429,995
Why should more buyers consider buying a new build home as opposed to older property?
Convenience is one of the main reasons why people should choose a brand new home over an older property. Many buyers are attracted by the newness - the fact that no one else has lived there before so they can personalise the property from day one, selecting the finish of everything from the kitchen units to the bathroom tiles without having to rip out the old fixtures and fittings first.
There is no need to spend time or money on repairs and renovations and you can simply move straight in as soon as your home is ready rather than waiting for the previous owner to move out. Plus, with energy bills squeezing household budgets another advantage is that new build homes are more economical to run than their older counterparts.
Is it worth buying property during the off-plan stage of construction?
We actively encourage our customers to buy off-plan and in the early stages of a development when there are more homes to choose from. Those who buy off -plan can enjoy watching the progress of their home as it takes shape and will have more opportunities to customise it than those who wait until a property is physically built before buying.
What is Elan Homes' USP?
Elan is a niche developer and over the last five years we've established ourselves as a company with a solid reputation for building family homes in sought-after locations. The team has a wealth of experience in the housing industry and we work with renowned architects to create beautifully crafted homes that combine traditionally styled exteriors and contemporary living spaces. By using premium materials and investing care and attention to their workmanship, our construction team of skilled craftsmen aim to build quality homes that will stand the test of time.
Which of the developments Elan Homes is currently developing do you think stands the best chance of winning a What House Award?
Gosling Park in Croft, near Warrington, is a contender for the Best Development award due to the unique nature of the scheme. We've transformed the site of a former military base, which has been redundant for more than 50 years, into somewhere people aspire to live. The 25 detached executive homes are set amid 21 acres of protected woodland and meadows yet enjoy good local amenities and strong transport links. The homes themselves boast a host of eco-friendly measures including water butts to collect rainwater, compost bins and solar roof tiles.
Our Carnatic Court development in Liverpool is also worthy of an award in recognition of its sympathetic design that complements the historic design of existing properties in the surrounding Conservation Area.