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Building Boutique But Affordable Homes

Posted 16 September 2021 by Keith Osborne

The directors of developer Harbright speak about the London market and their current Hounslow project…

We catch up with Henry Hardy and Jacques Bingham, directors of Harbright, about their latest project, Whitelocke House in west London, and their future ambitions.

What was your guiding focus when you decided to set up Harbright together in 2015?

Our main aim is to source development opportunities in the UK where we could apply our design and build knowledge and values gained in the prime London market, to develop beautiful, efficient and spacious homes that are best in class in the local area – and affordable to first-time buyers. We are about to complete a very smart boutique development at Whitelocke House, in the centre of Hounslow, which encapsulates these values.

Do you think central London will ‘bounce back’ or will there be some fundamental changes to housing requirements as a result of COVID?

We have already seen major changes to demands from buyers requiring larger homes, more outside space and amenities, to reflect the desire to work and spend more time at home. This has understandably meant a shift of focus for many to the London suburbs and beyond. However, London has endured pandemics before and evolved successfully to reflect changing times. Ultimately, in the medium to long term, the buzz, allure and convenience of living in one of the world’s greatest cities will continue to hold immense appeal.

Do you see the change of commercial/retail space into residential developments becoming a longer-term city trend?

There are many redundant office and retail spaces in cities across the UK that, where suitable, would benefit from either being converted to residential use or being demolished and rebuilt for residential use. 

You’ve worked on some beautiful prime central London developments, but are now excited to be developing good value homes in different areas outside of the capital; is this a response to changing buyer requirements since the pandemic?

We had committed to building outside central London from our inception in 2015. There is clearly a huge shortage and demand for homes across the UK – and in particular, great quality, well designed, new build homes. We had the know-how and wanted to play a small part in helping to fill that gap.

Whitelocke HouseWhitelocke House

Are you offering buyers any particular incentives to purchase at your Hounslow development?

Help To Buy is available at Whitelocke House, which has proved to be popular.

Our pricing and low ownership costs, such as low service charges and peppercorn ground rents, have appealed greatly to buyers and investors who do not want expensive overheads.

And what do you think your typical buyer demographic is likely to be?

There is no typical demographic but the main shortage in supply of homes is for first-time buyers, so recently our focus has been on that market. Due to the design and build quality and low running costs, we have also had significant interest from investors.

Do you have plans to roll out similar developments in other commuter locations and, if so, where might those be?

We are interested in anywhere that is within 90 minutes of London or 30 minutes of major town centres.

You’re passionate about the work of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, is there a reason why this particular cause is so close to your hearts?

Our focus is on brownfield sites, so creating greenery as part of the surroundings brings a softening to historically functional areas of towns and cities. Creating these urban oases is crucial to the survival of the bumble bees and many other species. We are also looking to sponsor a major international tree planting scheme on our next project.

What key design trends are you aware of buyers wanting now and in the future?

Buyers now want more space both inside and out to reflect spending more time at home. They also now often need extra bedroom(s) or a study to work from. At Whitelocke House we have built a number of one-bedroom apartments with an additional study room to pick up on this requirement. We have also instructed landscape architects, Meeuwsen Muldoon, to design a stunning garden at the front of the development, to provide additional amenity space for residents to enjoy.

And finally, what would be your best piece of advice to a young buyer looking to purchase a new-build property in the next few months?

Do it! Once you are on the ladder it is much easier to keep climbing.

 

Whitelocke House is a collection of high-specification super-smart studio, one-bedroom and one-bedroom-plus-study apartments that will appeal to first-time buyers, with Help to Buy available, in well-connected Hounslow in West London. There’s an attractive landscaped front courtyard garden by international designers Meeuwsen Muldoon. The impressive main entrance leads to a main reception lobby with a lift, lockable letterboxes and a secure cycle store, plus an audio-video entrance system linking to all apartments. The development is two minutes’ walk from Hounslow Central underground station, with a 35-minute journey to Hyde Park Corner and 22 minutes to Hammersmith. Studio apartments are priced at £275,000. Find out more at www.whitelockehouse.co.uk.

 

Find retirement homes in the London Borough of Hounslow
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