Sustainable Show Homes and Upcoming Launches from CALA Homes

Posted 16 May 2019 by Lizzie Leigh

This week, WhatHouse? talks exclusively to Sharon Thind, Marketing Manager at CALA Homes Chiltern...

CALA Homes Chiltern’s Sharon Thind tells us about their environmentally-friendly ‘Sustainable Show home’ and how they have ‘Aspiring Homemakers’ within their sights.

Please tell us a bit about your role and responsibilities at CALA Homes?

I joined CALA Homes as a Marketing Co-ordinator 3 years ago and was very pleased to be promoted to Marketing Manager in autumn last year. My role is very varied and I love every aspect of it; from managing budgets, implementing marketing plans and campaigns, creating brochures to site layout and show home launches, there is never a dull moment.


Tell us about the upcoming launches you have in 2019.

Carmel Meadows (CALA Homes)We currently have a number of exciting developments progressing, two of which are Carmel Meadows in Wallingford and Wolvercote Mill in Wolvercote, which both launch in June. Carmel Meadows will showcase our very popular Light and Space range which incorporates the very best of our design features and interior layouts, whilst providing for varying elevational treatments to suit the local architecture. We have collaborated with CABI (Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International) where we are facilitating their new UK headquarters which will also be a beautiful piece of architecture.



Wolvercote Mill (CALA Homes)Wolvercote Mill (formally a paper mill) is our flagship development of two-, three- and four-bedroom bespoke homes which will be built to a well-considered and sensitive design, and remain in keeping with the site’s history and the surrounding village’s architecture. We wanted to create a place for all to enjoy the stunning, natural areas in and around the historic watercourses which all once served the workings of the paper mill.




What do you feel sets these schemes apart from other new build developments?

Carmel Meadows is located only two miles from Cholsey train station, which offers direct trains to Reading and London Paddington. We anticipate this development appealing to many commuters who are looking for a commutable and desirable new home. It is also surrounded by a number of good schools which will attract young families and is set along the River Thames. We feel our Light and Space specification is impressive as these homes feel incredibly spacious with high ceilings, open planned rooms and windows allowing light to flood in.

Wolvercote Mill is the first project that I’ve been involved in where sustainable living is at the heart of the design and facilities available. Oxford is a cycling city and to accommodate this, every one of our homes will have cycle storage. We are also supporting the quaint Wolvercote village by building a community centre for all to benefit from.

We are specifically excited about our ‘Sustainable Show Home’ which will be launching later in the year. The wallpapers and materials will all be made from natural products, and this includes the furniture items. The decor itself is based on earthy tones, using browns, greens and creams. The scheme has a youthful and trendy feel to it, with much of the furniture having a retro style. The dressing throughout will support family values and will promote healthy vegan living and only animal friendly products will be used/displayed. The importance of recycling will be demonstrated, and all of the light fittings will only have LED bulbs in them. Our aim is to create a show home that has a strong positive environmental message and we hope this comes across.


Do CALA Homes offer any incentives or help to buyers?

We understand that selling an existing property or getting onto the property ladder is very difficult so we are always looking to help our buyers wherever possible.

The average number of Shared Ownership on any development is approximately 20-25% and Help to Buy is available on all homes under £600,000. We also offer up to 100% Part Exchange and effectively act as a cash buyer for the customers’ existing homes, where we will manage the whole process quickly and efficiently, potentially saving time, money and a great deal of hassle for our new purchasers.


Are these homes likely to appeal more to a particular 'type' of buyer?

When looking at the five key mosaic groups our customers fall into, I think that Carmel Meadows would appeal more to ‘Aspiring Homemakers’; these are younger households settling down in housing priced within their means and with the train station only a few miles away, we’re looking to attract many commuters too.

For Wolvercote Mill, the Oxford market is in general very traditional and possibly ‘old school’, which means they are cautious and considered when it comes to buying homes. It is also a market where the trend and expectation of home buyers is to have a character property which Oxford is famous for. This is why so much time and consideration was taken into designing our bespoke homes on this site.

Due to the mix of units on our scheme it will appeal to all sections of buyers in the market. Investors looking long term, first-time buyers at the lower end of the unit sizes, professionals (single and couples) with the prime market sector being families, as education is a huge pull here. Oxford attracts a high proportion of international buyers too, so we have already reached out to the international market to gauge their interest.


Do you see any particular lifestyle trends becoming more popular within the CALA Homes' schemes?

In 2019, a growing number of people are aspiring toward lifestyle changes that support increased sustainability, for themselves and for the societies in which they live. CALA are proud to create homes with sustainable living in mind, with a ‘fabric first’ approach to improve energy efficiency for the end user.

We don’t just want to sell a home, but we also want to welcome our purchasers into a new community. We’re very passionate about supporting the local businesses and like to engage with the local community as much as possible. We have run a Bursary scheme for the past three years which has been very popular and have donated thousands of pounds to local charities and organisations.


What are your predictions for the property market in 2019?

It’s fair to say that the first half of 2019 has been very tough on our industry, where we have seen some buyers holding off on their home moves whilst they wait to see what happens with the forbidden “B” word. However, we are now seeing an increase in activity and as interest rates are still relatively low, there are many deals to be had on mortgages. The purchase of a home is one of the biggest personal spends a person will make in their lifetime, so of course it has to be a carefully considered decision. I am very proud of our product at CALA Homes because I know everything that goes into designing, planning and building one; it’s not just bricks and mortar, it’s laying the foundations so people can make a ‘home’.


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