Location, Community and Local Needs Key for West Midlands Housebuilder

Posted 12 February 2020 by Lizzie Leigh

This week we catch up with Lee Noble, chairman of Midlands’ housebuilding business, Piper Homes.

Piper Homes’s Lee Noble tells us how his own self-build project back in 1997 fired his passion for the property industry.

Lee, you co-own Piper Homes, can you tell us a bit about the history of the company?

We established Piper Homes PLC in 2014 following a chance meeting between Rupert Parkin and me. Both Rupert and I have a passion for property and possess complementary skills that have allowed us to establish and grow a quality, reliable and forward-thinking housebuilding business. My passion for housebuilding grew out of a self-build project in 1997. I thoroughly enjoyed the process and knew this was an industry I wanted to be part of.

How do you think Piper Homes being a privately-owned business impacts on the quality of what you’re able to offer your customers?

It allows us to be much more selective; in terms of the locations of our developments and the types of homes we build. We are very community-focussed and want all of our developments to have a village-like feel to them; that sense of being friends with your neighbours and being able to just pop down to the shops or local pub. As such, most of our sites are situated in, or near, rural towns and villages. Quality is hugely important to us; unless we’re happy to live in the house ourselves, we won’t build it.

Your developments are built in the Midlands, how are you finding the local property market at the moment?

The fundamentals of the market are sound; employment remains high, interest rates remain low and there is a lack of supply of quality housing. Political uncertainty has caused certain customers to be cautious but, the right house, in the right area, priced competitively, will sell.

What are the three main things that Piper Homes looks for when considering a new area to build in?

Location, community appeal and the local housing needs.

We truly believe that the location of our sites is what sets us apart from other housebuilders. Being a regional housebuilder means that we know the pros and cons of local areas. This allows us to cherry-pick the locations that we know are the most desirable places to live. Largely, our sites tend to be rural or semi-rural with easy access to local amenities and good travel connections; all of which are important factors for our buyers when choosing a home.

Neighbourhood is also important to us. We aspire for our developments to have a village-mentality, promoting friendships between neighbours and creating spaces for people to meet and play. When choosing new sites, we look at the local community and make a concerted effort to integrate ourselves and in turn, our future homeowners; developing partnerships with schools, community groups and local charities, as well as forging strong relationships with local councils and stakeholders.

I’ve also mentioned the local housing need as being a key consideration for us. We want our new homeowners to be just as passionate about our houses as we are and we can only achieve this by building the homes that people actually want. Being a smaller housebuilder means it is easier for us to take on board design features that are favoured locally. For example, it there’s a need for four bedroom detached houses, that’s what we’ll build rather than simply trying to get the most returns from the land.

Ultimately, we are 100% committed to delivering high-quality, family homes in desirable locations and we’re very proud of the homes we build.

Has there been a change in the size of developments you’ve been building in more recent times?

To date, we’ve mainly focused on smaller developments, however our reputation and passion for what we do has meant that we’re now also working on larger sites. This year we will be starting work on a development of more than 100 homes in Warwickshire. This doesn’t mean we’ve changed our stance on the importance of location or quality though; they will remain our key focus areas regardless of the size of the development.

What schemes is Piper Homes marketing at the moment?

At the end of last year we started work on our new Heath Meadow development in Fernhill Heath, offering a mix of one, two, three and four bedroom homes located just three miles from the centre of Worcester. It’s going to be a very picturesque development, with 40% allocated to green, open space. I think it’s also going to be very popular; the day after planning permission was granted, we received emails from people wanting to reserve one of the new homes!

We’ve also just opened the doors to our first view home at The Fairways in Harborne, a popular suburb outside Birmingham city centre, and we also launched our show home at Christine Way in Powick.

We’re currently active on eight developments across the Midlands, ranging from Chipping Campden in the Cotswolds, to Oxhill which is a beautiful village situated between Stratford-upon-Avon and Banbury, and Bransford near the Malvern Hills.

We’ve got some exciting new developments in the pipeline too so watch this space!

Do you offer incentives such as Help To Buy or Part Exchange options to your customers?

Both Help to Buy and Part Exchange are available at our developments and we also offer our own EasyMove scheme where we provide assistance in selling your existing property, allowing you to move into a Piper home. Whatever stage of the property ladder you’re on, we’ve got a scheme that can help get you moving.

How do you work to integrate your new build properties into established, sometimes rural communities?

Communication is key. From the outset, we get involved with key stakeholders and the local council, keeping people updated with our plans and aspirations for the development. We also focus on speaking to, and working with the existing community, including local residents, sport and community groups and schools; whether this is through design, naming or learning activities, sponsorship or helping to establish new activities that will benefit the existing community and our new homeowners.

And finally, how has 2019 been for you and what’s exciting about 2020 for Piper Homes?

The most rewarding way to measure success for us though is the feedback that we’ve had from our new homeowners. As a team, we put so much passion into the planning, design and construction of our developments and there’s no better feeling for us than seeing people move in and start creating memories in the homes that we have built.


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