In June, we made our annual trip to Manchester for the CIH conference. For me, it meant a short burst up the M56 in the car from home rather than the weekly 6:03am from Crewe into London.
I like the CIH at Manchester. It’s a chance to reconnect with our Northern roots, check out the changing face of the city (and its latest watering holes), as well as the chance to mix with those RPs and contractors located outside of London with wider regional programmes.
It was a reminder that those organisations are committed as ever with significant appetite to deliver affordable housing in what are challenging times for the sector. With a backdrop of increasing build costs, competition for land and dissipating supply, it also reaffirms the importance of land-led development to many RPs to assist with that delivery.
Indeed, of the 1,055 units currently live/on site being delivered through V10, over 700 are outside of London.
Unlocking the land
As a company we have always been fortunate to have an ongoing supply of land, formed through longstanding relationships with landowners, promoters and developers.
That said, in these times of a restricted number of consents coming through the planning system, V10 successfully acquired a site ‘on market’ in late November last year with Stonewater for 87 units in Huntingdonshire for a 100% affordable scheme. This is a path we continue to be successful with, competing in the market partnering with RP’s to acquire sites for development.
There is over 60 years of collective expertise in buying land and delivering a fully designed scheme tailored to specific requirements in the team!
Like all development companies, land remains the lifeblood of our business and we continue to invest great time, energy and resource into identifying potential land opportunities that are suitable for delivery into the affordable housing sector.
Build Cost & Viability
We work with some great contracting partners, who are established in the sector with whom we have forged close relationships with over time. This has never been so important to us as a business.
With cost inflation being experienced by all in the sector, we work hard with our contractors to understand the sites that we assess and put forward, identifying the key risk items and identifying their solutions at an early stage of engagement with an RP.
Working transparently to demonstrate the best route to tackle ground conditions and abnormal costs, the effect of planning and section 106 to programme and getting the site delivered.
We undertake extensive sales research with data and the qualitative research from local agents and housebuilders to assess the market dynamics local to the scheme, and the affect that might have on the absorption of different tenures.
By doing all of this we aim to assist our RP to assess the site quickly and enable us to move swiftly on schemes that have potential.
You can’t beat Face to Face
As I noted from one senior RP development director, the importance of meeting friends and colleagues was perfectly demonstrated at this year’s CIH conference.
“Zoom and Teams have their new place in our lives but sharing a story and a smile (maybe a coffee or something stronger) in person cannot be replaced.”
That is how relationships are formed, and through collaboration and partnering, they will continue to be the key to enabling the delivery of much needed affordable housing in these uncertain times.
If you would like to find out more about V10 and how we partner with housing associations to deliver land and build package deals, please get in touch.
Written by Simon Kight, Acquisitions and Partnerships Director, V10 Homes