The UK’s housing strategy needs to be about much more than the number of new home starts. The recently published white paper Fixing our broken housing market contains a long list of potential policies, actions and interventions for the future, mostly focused on increasing the annual new build rate to 225,000 homes a year.
But what about the types of homes that are built? This question should go beyond getting as many properties as possible into a given piece of land. A successful housing strategy needs to go further than the number of homes, bedrooms and whether there are branded appliances in the kitchen.
Davies Hickman has developed a consumer driven model that quantifies the specification of new home designs. It informs architects and developers what buyers are looking for in a new build. Based on trends that highlight the way people are living their lives in 2017, here are soe examples:
Screen lives, on-App – consumers are increasingly leading their lives through smartphones, both socially and for their everyday needs. How does a new build support this desire in terms of connectivity or deliveries for example?
Working on the go – more employees are working flexibly, from home or other locations. What’s the best way of meeting this need in new homes?
Smart service – people want and expect organisations to remember things for them. They want brands to prompt them about predictable faults or anticipate their routines. This can mean turning off the heating when no one is at home or alerting a home owner to a suspicious occurrence. Which Internet of Things technology will early adopters and the typical consumer value in their new homes?
Ageing population – rather than thinking that all consumers over the age of 60 have the same needs, we need to design property which differentiates between the leisure-active, those that are supporting their families, those who need care and others. What will these different groups need in a new home? What home design and community activities will they require?
What about the customer experience? What do developers need to know to satisfy expectations for a good customer experience? In an industry with a history of snagging problems and defects what experiences are the new build buyers looking for? So yes, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Sajid Javid may say we urgently need to build many more homes. But equally, we need to consider the design of these homes and what service experience is provided.