A Bright Outlook From Re-Branded Housebuilder

Posted 8 January 2021 by Lizzie Leigh

Our first interview of 2021 is with Gwyn Jones of Castle Green Homes, building across north Wales and the North West...

Gwyn Jones of Castle Green Homes tells us about their green vision for the future, and the great strides thet are taking towards carbon neutrality.

Alongside long-term finance partner, Bridgemere UK, you bought Macbryde Homes – now Castle Green Homes – last year when you were already managing director. How different does it feel to own the company?

The business was already enjoying a period of sustained growth, but we always wanted to push harder and achieve greater levels of growth. Now, as owner of the business, and with the undoubtable support of Bridgemere alongside us, that vision can become a reality and we’re going to achieve some fantastic things together. Our plan is to at least quadruple the size of the business in the coming few years and it’s great to know that this goal is something that we have the power to achieve.

After the purchase, you rebranded the company to Castle Green. What was the thinking behind this?

The management buy-out marked the start of a new era and it felt appropriate to harness all the ambition and optimism that came hand in hand with that, with a fresh new identity so that as a team we’d be invigorated to move forward with our plans.

We chose ‘Castle Green’ as it is a brand that we believe transcends generations, but which importantly encapsulates the core values that this team is built on; ‘castle’ conveys the heritage that has been built up over the past three and a half decades, whilst ‘green’ underpins our vision for the future.

As you look forward to the coming year, what are your hopes and aspirations?

As with the rest of the world, I am very much hoping that 2021 will be a year of much greater certainty, stability and health and happiness all round. From a professional perspective, we’re starting 2021 with great positivity and a demonstration of just how committed we are to our vision of growth. We concluded 2020 with the acquisition of two significant sites near Wrexham that together will deliver over 300 new homes in this increasingly popular area on the Wales-England border and we’re due to complete on the purchase of a further site to deliver 150 homes in the North West before the end of January. This is a pace of growth that we are planning to sustain throughout the year, not least of all as some of our current sites reach full completion and occupation in the coming 12-18 months.

Parc ElianParc Elian

We are also focused on significantly reducing our carbon footprint and making great strides towards carbon neutrality. Ultimately, our aim is to deliver homes fit for the future in line with the government’s Green Revolution pledge.

Has the Stamp Duty holiday had a noticeable impact on sales at Castle Green?

The Stamp Duty holiday has had a positive impact to an extent but given that all our developments were already experiencing strong sales before it was announced, we are confident that this demand will continue well in to 2021.

Do you offer customers incentives such as Help to Buy at your schemes?

Yes, Help to Buy and Help to Buy Wales incentives are offered at the majority of our developments and continue to prove to be very popular with many of our purchasers.

What developments are you working on at the moment?

We have currently got ten live sites at various stages of completion across North Wales. Amongst those, we’re particularly excited about our Parc Elian development in Old Colwyn where we’re delivering 42 stunning new homes on the edge of open countryside with stunning and far-reaching views. Our Castle Green development in the sought-after medieval town of Holt, meanwhile, offers the ideal blend of a semi-rural location within close proximity to both Wrexham and Chester. We’re also live on an exclusive development of 25 luxury homes in Meols on The Wirral.

Looking ahead, we purchased a further two sites in Wales just before Christmas and will contract on further sites in Wales and across the North West in the coming few weeks.

Castle Green offers its clients a 'customer charter', can you explain what this involves?

Our customer charter is about going the extra mile and ensuring that buying a Castle Green home is a superior purchasing experience. That starts as soon as you make an initial enquiry at one of our sales centres, all the way through to moving in and making your new house a home.

Our new home consultants are on hand throughout the entire purchasing journey to answer questions, provide advice, support throughout the legal completion, and carry out the new home demonstration so that you’re familiar with how everything works. They don’t simply disappear once you’re in your new home though as we provide a dedicated after-sales customer care service too.

How is the property market in north Wales and the north West performing at the moment?

With our most recent developments being predominantly focused on the north Wales market, I am in no doubt as to how buoyant the market here is. We’re always mindful to develop the right types of home in the areas that they’re most needed and the success we’ve enjoyed in the past year or so bears testament to this approach.

Cae FelinCae Felin

When we launched sales at our Denbigh site, Cae Felin, last summer all five in the original release were sold within the first hour with one purchaser actually camping out to secure their dream home! We had expected this given that we fielded over 100 enquiries when our presence on site became evident earlier in the year. If this doesn’t demonstrate demand, I don’t know what does!

Our luxury homes in Meols on The Wirral are also proving to be very popular which demonstrates that demand remains strong across all levels of the market. Here, we’ve already secured reservations on half of those which have been released for sale so far.

Are you noticing changes in what people want from a home during the ongoing pandemic?

Having spent so much time at home, it has become increasingly apparent just how important the four walls we call home are. We’ve always paid close attention to how we design our homes to meet the needs of the intended purchasers and in the past few months, we’ve invested heavily in updating our approach to interior design to ensure we continue to deliver the very highest specification.

The location of many of our developments allows us to take full advantage of the great outdoors as we know how important that is to us all these days. Many of our new homes have far-reaching views across stunning north Wales landscapes and we’re always mindful of developing in keeping with the aesthetics of the local environment.

And finally, what would be top piece of advice for a young person looking to get onto the property ladder this year?

It is understandable that the current uncertainties that surround us make people cautious of significant financial commitments. However, we must remember that the property market has remained buoyant throughout the pandemic and we don’t foresee that changing.

With that in mind, I’d advise any young person considering their first property purchase to go for it, with the caveat, of course, of first doing their research and seeking the relevant independent financial advice. With that research and knowledge in place, there really is no reason to delay purchasing your dream home at this time.

 

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