In the UK, the New Build sector is a beacon of innovation and adaptation, closely mirroring the dynamic shifts in the housing market. With the demand for housing steadily outstripping the available supply, the creation of new homes is not just a priority but a necessity. This demand is being shaped by evolving customer trends and preferences, prompting developers and lenders to forge new routes to accommodate the needs of potential homebuyers.

Changes are being observed in the preferences of first time buyers of New Build homes. Following the end of Help to Buy, there's been a noticeable increase in interest for smaller, two-bedroom starter homes, including flats. The industry's collective effort to introduce the deposit unlock scheme has been commendable and you now have a small handful of lenders, including Skipton offering 95% LTV on New Build flats and houses, independently without third-party involvement which show’s a willingness to be innovative, adapting to trends and addressing issues faced by society.

This shift is accompanied by a rising interest in various affordable housing initiatives. Several developers are considering the introduction of their versions of Shared Equity programs, and the emergence of Private Shared Ownership models is evident.

The market continues to face challenges including declining home ownership, dwindling supply, falling levels of planning permissions being granted and the frequent changes of housing ministers, but we are seeing gradual improvement in a number of areas.

Despite the above, we could see a more optimistic 2024, UK mortgage approvals have increased month on month since September 2023, with the highest levels of mortgage approvals in January 2024. Pressure on household finances has eased slightly with the positive direction of travel over the last 12 months with inflation and average earnings increasing. There are other reasons to be positive, in November 2023 the House Builders Federation (HBF) released their 10-point plan of practical solutions for government to remove barriers to house building and with the general election looming, the opposition have pledged to re-instate mandatory housing targets should they get into power.

Newly constructed homes are a shining example of energy efficiency, with 85% achieving an A or B Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating and using on average 55% less energy. This trend aligns with the increasing preference of homebuyers for energy-efficient properties, as highlighted by Zoopla’s research. This research indicates the significance of an energy rating for purchasers of new homes: 44% consider it very important, and 25% view it as extremely important. Furthermore, these new homes could act as models for upgrading the existing housing stock throughout the nation, utilising contemporary design, cutting edge technology, and eco-friendly practices to lead the way towards a more sustainable future.

These developments signal a significant transformation in the housing market, influencing the preferences and strategies of today’s buyers. Additionally, there are clear opportunities for the industry to learn from the New Build sector, with brokers poised to not only meet this demand, but also establish themselves as indispensable advisers within the sector.

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