Delivering sector-leading growth from our
Key trends in the housing market
The long-term undersupply of housing, as first identified in the 2004 Barker Review, means that 250,000 or possibly more homes need to be built in the UK p.a. The number of net additions to the housing stock was just 190,000 last year.
We have been growing our total annual completions over the past five years. Our business has the resources both in people and financial strength to continue this growth in the medium term, both in our existing areas of operation and in newer geographies such as the Midlands.
In part, the structural undersupply in housing has been caused by the lack of affordable housing being built in England. In addition, Private Rental Sector (“PRS”) housing has largely been provided by small independent landlords in poor quality older homes and there remains a structural undersupply of good quality homes for market rent in most urban areas.
We differ from all other major housebuilders in that the private for sale homes made up just less than half of our total completions in 2017, with 30 per cent affordable and 21 per cent PRS homes. Our Partnerships division delivers a balanced mix of all three tenure types, giving it the benefit of being able to grow more rapidly, with the added benefit of business resilience should the private for sale market start to slow.
All political parties have recognised the need for additional housing. Recent policy has focused on stimulating demand for home ownership through programmes such as Help to Buy, which is committed out to 2021. Additionally, the Government has committed a further £2bn of funding to deliver affordable homes and the National Planning Policy Framework is ensuring that all local authorities have a five-year supply of land for new homes.
We are ideally placed to benefit from the commitment to deliver more new homes of all tenures. In 2017, 88 per cent of our private for sale homes were eligible for the Help to Buy programme and it was utilised on 27 per cent of our total completions across the Group. We deliver a greater proportion of affordable housing in London than any other major housebuilder and through our Partnerships division we have a nine-year pipeline of future work. We also have an industry-leading owned or controlled land bank, all within 50 miles of London, the vast majority of which, 83 per cent, has been strategically sourced.
The housebuilding industry has a shortage of skilled and experienced labour at all levels. Chronic underinvestment has eroded the workforce considerably with the skills gap largely filled by overseas workers, who now make up a significant proportion of the workforce, especially in Greater London. Brexit negotiations have led to uncertainty over the security of the EU workforce, not just from potential future employment restrictions but also from possible economic migration.
We are mitigating the risk of a lack of labour availability by recruiting a record number of apprentices and management trainees and expanding our graduate recruitment programme. We are focusing on delivering our growth agenda by recruiting, retaining and developing the best talent at all levels. Our larger sites also allow us to retain and expand our supply chain, by offering longer-term contracts and better quality working conditions.
In order to meet the increased demand for housing despite the labour shortage, the industry must look at different build methodologies to deliver growth in output. While the industry has not yet fully embraced non-traditional build, several methods of off-site construction are being developed, from timber frame construction to complete modular build.
We already utilise off-site timber frame construction on around 40 per cent of our current output. We are examining the way that this process can be enhanced to include all windows, first-fix plumbing and electrical insulation and plasterboard in an automated closed panel system. This will improve capacity, product quality and efficiency.
Mixed-tenure model driving strong risk-adjusted returns
Our key resources
balanced business model
Low-risk model with high return on capital employed
Our Partnerships division specialises in regeneration and is the UK’s most established partnerships homebuilder with over 30 years’ experience. Through this division we strive to make lives better through building a mix of private for sale, PRS and affordable homes.
- Public sector land-led regeneration
- 30-year relationships with local authorities
- Reputation for placemaking and urban regeneration
- Low-risk/low-capital model
- Excellent visibility of future work
- Continued political support from both central and local government
Investment in growth and margin potential
Our Housebuilding division builds private and affordable homes. It works collaboratively with landowners, public agencies and major commercial organisations, to create places people love, and which consistently deliver a premium for our partners.
- Over 10 years’ supply of strategic land
- Focused on Outer London and the South East
- Flexibility and balance sheet efficiency from controlled and optioned land
- Strong average selling prices from placemaking
- Operating efficiency from increasing scale
Building on our strategy
We aim to deliver sector-leading growth from our mixed-tenure delivery in Partnerships
and developing our industry-leading land bank in Housebuilding.