It’s nice to be niche – the benefits of buying from a small housebuilder

Posted 23 December 2015 by Keith Osborne

Small housebuilders (building up to 100 units a year) are a vital ingredient in the UK new homes market and buyers should seriously consider their products...

While the national housebuilders often grab the headlines when it comes to building the new homes that Britain so desperately needs, if you’re looking for a new build it’s important to also consider the properties for sale from smaller companies.

At the WhatHouse? Awards – the most prestigious event in the UK new homes industry – one of the most competitive categories is that for Best Small Housebuilder, which is open to companies that build up to 100 new homes a year. Their niche may be a particular geographical area or a style of home, and without the constrictions of many larger companies, they can often allow buyers much more say in the details of their home and provide a level of service beyond the norm.

The independent panel of judges often finds these smaller housebuilders bring a fresh and personal approach to providing homes which can be lacking in the larger companies. Some have been nurtured over many years by generations of the same family, while others have been formed by executives with the experience of working at larger firms who want to be able to offer a more flexible and individual service to their homebuyers.

London Square Fulham​This year’s Gold winner is London Square. This developer works in and around the capital and has taken on an impressive range of projects. The judges said: “The 90 completed homes in the last year ranged from Ruislip starter homes, to stylish apartments in Putney, Fulham and Teddington. This year also saw the launch of The Star and Garter development on Richmond Hill, a remarkable restoration and conversion project that will doubtless interest awards’ judges in the years to come.

The firm brings a “big company” attitude to the way it conducts itself too.  The Sunday Times named the company in its Best 100 Companies to Work For report and it has a customer care team that offers support for buyers for two years after purchase and a 24-hour helpline.

Spitfire Bespoke Homes took the Silver Award. Like London Square, this company has only been around for five years, but it is already growing fast. The judges praised this Midlands-based housebuilder for its “architectural flair and ability to interpret both the needs of the local markets and surroundings”.

They also acknowledged “a real attention to crafted detail, using original materials where appropriate, with no compromise on internal specifications”.

Two small housebuilders took home a Bronze award this year. Millwood Designer Homes, says the judges, “carved its original niche with period-style, locally sourced homes – be they Georgian, Tudor or Yeoman farmhouses – always sympathetic to the local vernacular, but making their own striking design statements at the same time and with all the latest technology.”

Regal Homes won the second Bronze for involvement in a number of schemes in and around London. “Regal is often approached by landowners to form innovative joint venture partnerships”, noted the judges, citing schemes in St Pancras, Tower Hamlets and Dalston as particularly noteworthy. “Architectural flair is in Regal’s DNA”, they added, “as is entrepreneurship under the leadership of joint CEOs Paul Eden and Simon de Friend. Regal also has its own in-house construction team...while interior design flair is a key asset too.”

If you’re interested in learning more about some of the small housebuilders listing their new homes for sale on WhatHouse? right now, check out these profiles:

  • Anwyl Homes – building in North Wales and the North West of England
  • Dart Developments – specialising in semi-rural property in south Devon
  • Fairgrove Homes – a family-run company building across the East Midlands
  • HAB Housing – founded by property design guru Kevin McCloud 
  • Lindum Homes – constructing new homes in Lincolnshire for over 50 years
  • Mattwell Homes – making its name with high-specification homes in Surrey
  • Strongvox – multi-award-winning developer in the West Country 
  • Tkei Homes – providing homes at locations across the Homes Counties


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