Looking to the Future with CALA Homes 

Posted 13 March 2019 by Lizzie Leigh

WhatHouse? speaks exclusively with Philip Hogg, Sales and Marketing Director for CALA Homes East of Scotland...

Philip Hogg tells us about the long-term loyalty of CALA home buyers and why he’s happy to leave interior design to the experts.

 

1. Please tell us about your role and your main responsibilities at CALA Homes East of Scotland.

As a Sales and Marketing Director for a busy homebuilder in one of its most established regions, it might come as a surprise to some that I actually spend around three quarters of my time working on future developments.

I spend a lot of my time looking at new land we’re bidding on, the quality of the location, what type of mix of housing we might offer, the target customers, how we’re going to bring the homes to market, pricing and the show homes. As a business we always have to be thinking ahead – procuring new developments and bringing them to fruition. We need to make sure we’re making strong and well considered bids and being confident on delivering them.

It’s not always as clear cut as this, but usually on a Monday I look at what we’ve sold in the previous week and plan the short-term marketing activity for the following seven days. The rest of the week is spent looking at future sites.

 

2. What's special about a CALA home?

I think our mix of home types, sizes, styles and designs offer buyers something a bit different – and it is our ability and desire to tackle a wide range of developments, including refurbishments, that ultimately sets us apart from other builders.

We very carefully tailor our developments to the location they’re built in, who the target customers are and what they might be looking for.

We actually have a number of loyal customers who live in a series of CALA homes, which is testament to this unique range of product – there’s something for our buyers at every stage of their lives.

 

3. What are the most exciting developments you are working on in 2019?

At the beginning of the year we launched what is our flagship city centre development, The Crescent at Donaldson’s and there are some other exciting ones coming through soon.

Waterfront Plaza will see 388 new homes on a former derelict site in Leith and we’re also making good progress on the restoration of the impressive former Boroughmuir High School.

These developments encapsulate the cross section of projects we’re currently working on. We’ve got the skills and the team that were prepared to take on these wide-ranging sites and confidently deliver them.

 

4. What exciting new interior or fit-out trends are you seeing this year?

When it comes to interior design, we have to think carefully about our target markets and choose something that fits our product. We have a few trusted suppliers we use for interior design who keep us right on trends – so this is something I’m always happy leaving to the experts!

 

5. Do you offer incentives to buyers?

Yes, we offer a ‘Guaranteed Buyer’ service across all of our current developments in the East of Scotland, where CALA effectively acts as a back-up cash buyer for your home in the eventuality that it does not sell on the open market. It’s a great safety net for buyers and helps to take a little bit of the stress out of moving home.

We also have a ‘Show Home Sale and Leaseback’ scheme, where buyers are able to purchase one of our show homes, with a guaranteed return for an initial period whilst the property is leased back to CALA. The property, including all high spec fittings, carpets and garden, is then theirs to occupy or let.

 

6. Do these properties make good buy-to-let investments?

It varies from development to development but generally, we’ve found that our homes mainly attract families at various stages – and especially those looking for their forever homes - rather than investment buyers.

I’d estimate that across the east of Scotland at least 90% of the homes we sell are to the buyer who will live in them long-term.  

 

7. Is there a typical 'type' of buyer these homes are likely to appeal to?

Families tend to be our typical demographic but depending on where our developments are situated, we can attract a range of different buyers. CALA homes built nearer to the city centre might appeal more to young professionals than our semi-rural spots in the suburbs or by the coast. Downsizers, retirees and families may gravitate towards these developments instead. It completely varies.

 

8. Are there any particular lifestyle trends becoming more popular within your residential schemes?

There’s a clear demand for more environmentally friendly living. There are Electric Vehicle (EV) charging points available to every property at The Crescent and we’re working to facilitate similar services at our upcoming developments. Technically, this is a very difficult thing to do when the infrastructure is still evolving but where possible we’re trying to make it happen.

 

9. How is the property market performing in the various areas you're working in?

The early part of the year has been pretty good all round – we’ve had strong interest and a strong rate of sale.

 

10. What are your predictions for the UK housing market over the next 12 months?  

The fundamentals remain very strong. The fact of the matter is that, both Scotland and UK-wide, we are not building anywhere near enough homes for a growing population. At the same time, mortgage rates are very low, which helps affordability.

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