A challenging property market across central London and the south-east has seen leading developers Barratt move eastward, launching a new division in Cambridgeshire in February 2018.
The government’s 2013 Help to Buy scheme has had a positive impact for first-time buyers in the east of England with mortgage lending figures reaching a high across the region, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Barratt hopes to benefit from this trend, aiming to scale down its housing range and raise the amount of offsite construction to bring down labour costs and maximise margins.
Established Cambridge-based developer Enterprise Property Group (EPGL) is seeing a sharp increase in first-time buyers, who have been able to use the scheme to get onto the housing ladder.
Sophie Schofield, sales and marketing manager at EPGL, says: “I’m not surprised at Barratt’s decision to move into the area. Cambridgeshire’s housing market is one of the strongest in the UK with prices and demand outstripping many other areas of the country.”
“So far this year, the general mood of the property market in our eastern region has been very buoyant. With the growth in bio-medical and science parks in the region and large businesses such as AstraZeneca and Amazon relocating here, demand for more new homes is constantly increasing.
“The new Cambridge North station, which runs into London’s Kings Cross, has also boosted local property prices, helping to encourage commuters to look to move into the region. We have some major schemes due for completion soon and some good land and site acquisitions in the pipeline.”
Barratt is hot on the acquisition trail. In the second half of 2017, the developer almost doubled the value of land purchased to £641m compared to £328m, according to ONS data. Barratt said: “Exceptional land opportunities had accounted for the higher than historic levels and underpinned volume growth aspirations.”