Our ongoing series of interviews with senior figures in the new homes industry continues this week with Marc Da Silva putting the questions to Parul Scampion, director of Fruition Properties.
What regions do you cover? We are building new homes in North, West and Central London and the surrounding suburbs. We currently have developments either under construction or shortly coming to market in Barnet, Wembley, New Southgate and Bayswater.
Historically we have focused on the outer suburbs but in the last three to four years have moved increasingly into prime London, and have recently completed developments in Bayswater and Ladbroke Grove.
As a rule, Fruition looks for development opportunities in parts of London that sit between established ‘prime' areas but which will see increased gentrification and price growth as the demand for quality living space within London continues to grow.
What are housing market conditions currently like in those areas? The London and Greater London market is, as we all know, currently experiencing aggressive growth. Fruition's philosophy transcends prevailing market conditions, however, as we have always aimed, and continue to do so, for niche developments in the less obvious areas where we can add real value, either in the planning or construction phase. Our current development at Waterside Close, which abuts the River Brent in Wembley, is a great example - derelict garages on a site continuously refused planning permission since the 1980s, Fruition succeeded in gaining permission and now is ready to unveil six large family homes and three apartments with private parking, close to great parkland.
What types of properties is your firm developing? We develop the whole range - from new-builds to conversions, one-off houses to multiple units, purely residential to mixed-use arrangements. We are currently building a 36-apartment complex with retail space at ground level next to New Southgate train station, which will give great views over Alexandra Palace.
Meanwhile, our nine-apartment development in Bayswater is being completed in May 2014 with the West London Buddhist Centre relocating their headquarters and meditation rooms to the D1 space on the ground floor of the property. We don't pigeonhole ourselves to one type of property - the key for us is finding developments where we can add value.
How much does a new home by Fruition Properties typically cost to buy? Fruition Properties operates under two brands: ‘Fruition' and ‘Flow by Fruition'. A ‘Fruition' development typically enjoys very high-end specification and finish. Properties under this brand are targeted at buyers looking for top-quality homes in premium areas of London - our current development in Bayswater, for example, will see apartments retail for between £1m and £3m. Alongside this, our ‘Flow by Fruition' developments target first- and second-time buyers or young families looking to buy in the Greater London area. Prices reflect this - our new nine-unit development next to the River Brent in northwest London will see five-bedroom family houses priced at around £535,000 whilst The Observatory in New Southgate is selling apartments from £250,000.
The key point is that our expertise at the top end of the market ensures our Flow brand delivers similarly excellent quality and design in the mid-range of the market.
Why should more buyers consider buying a new-build home as opposed to older property? New-build homes make use of the latest technology in all areas - construction, fittings, utilities, and so forth. The high level of energy efficiency this affords means homeowners are not only saving money from the day they move in but they are reducing their environmental impact as well.
The peace of mind that comes with a new-build home is the other big, obvious attraction - all the fittings are modern, reliable and safe. Plus, the 10-year new-build warranty ensures any issues that do arise are already covered in the cost of the property. Finally, it should be added that new-build developments in London increasingly allow buyers to be part of a newly formed community in up and coming areas, surrounded by like-minded people with similar aspirations - an exciting prospect for new, young buyers in particular.
Is it worth buying property during the off-plan stage of construction? It certainly can be, yes. Provided you have seen evidence of the quality of the developer's finished product, it can be an exciting and effective way to take early involvement in your home-to-be and ensure it turns out to your liking. Obviously, buying off-plan means you get first pick on the various units. But it can also mean you get creative input as far as decorations and finishings are concerned. It's sometimes even possible to come to more far-reaching arrangements - partition wall removal or room alterations, for example. As a buyer, off-plan purchase leaves more room for negotiation with the developer and, in a rising market, can land you a good deal financially too.
What is Fruition Properties' USP? Fruition Properties really focuses on the design and usability of our homes - we really care about every aspect of the end product from the layouts of room and the quality of the finishes down to details such as including sufficient storage and the position of each light switch. We bring a design flair to our homes and build aspirational and attractive developments in up-and-coming and spill-over parts of London.
Which of the developments Fruition Properties is currently developing do you think stands the best chance of winning a What House? Award? We are proud of all our current developments but are particularly excited about One Westbourne Gardens, which is a beautiful art nouveau inspired apartment block being built in Bayswater.
It provides nine spacious and highly appointed apartments, each with its own outside space or balcony and fitted with fantastic kitchens, bathrooms and a great audiovisual system in the master bedrooms and living areas.
The building benefits from a passenger lift, private parking accessed by its own car lift and beautiful public art in terms of the external railings and gate. The West London Buddhist Centre will occupy the ground floor and add a touch of serenity and calm.