David Reid, Founder of David Reid Homes
The proliferation of aspirational TV programmes such as 'Grand Designs', and the popularity of property development and investment, leaves no doubt that Britain's national obsession with property and home design is as strong as ever. In spite of five consecutive interest rate increases, UK house prices continue to rise, and with the economy strong and consumer demand holding firm, signs of a slowdown are hard to find.
The average property price in England is now over £200,000, with Northern Ireland the latest UK hot spot. Britain's biggest mortgage lender, Halifax, stated that the year-on-year price increase in July was the highest since February 2005, and the latest report by the National Housing Federation shows average prices soaring by over 40 per cent to £300,000 by 2012.
The UK new build market remains buoyant with the greatest regional increase in house starts being in the South East, where land is arguably most scarce. The number of new builds in 2006 totalled 185,000 nationally (according to NHBC) and the rate of building is at its highest for 10 years, up 25 per cent up on five years ago.
These figures are reminiscent of the housing boom in the late 1980s when new builds peaked at 209,000, but the current upward trend looks set to continue and stabilise in order to reach the government's recently revised target of 240,000 new homes each year by 2016. Although demand for affordable housing has fuelled unprecedented growth in the building of flats and maisonettes, there is a significant market for detached homes - around 20 per cent of all new homes started in 2006 were detached.
There is clear evidence of growing demand for individually designed homes in the UK. Media exposure of what you can achieve as a self-builder has led to consumers increasingly desiring a 'house of their dreams' rather than one built by a developer. Up to 20,000 people a year are now self-building a new home in the UK, and the total market is estimated at around £2 billion.
A self-build home is the ultimate expression of the unique lifestyle and aspirations of their owners and Grand Designs Live, the leading consumer show for design and innovation, now features an exhibition dedicated to the self-build market. The need for new homes to be designed and built to meet environmental legislation is increasing, and self-builds are setting the standard with built-in energy efficient technology.
Modern self-building means that you direct the design and construction of your home, not that you need construction skills or have to live in a caravan. Building your own home no longer requires the networking that it did 10 years ago, and there are packages available from turnkey homes to self-build mortgages.
The majority of UK self-builds are pre-fabricated or timber-framed. These offer some flexibility in layouts within individual designs, however we believe we have identified a gap in the market for a bespoke 'design and build' service, offering truly unique homes to discerning buyers, of the type David Reid Homes have been building in Australia and New Zealand since 1993.