Over this past year our perception of ‘home’ has completely changed out of necessity.
Rather than being a place to hang our hat after a long day at work, home has become office, school, sanctuary and undoubtedly central to our lives. Consequently, our homes have become more important to us and therefore those wishing to enter the housing market at this crucial time will be increasingly careful about the home they choose and, crucially, where they live.
That is why it has been so encouraging to observe how well the housing market across Wakefield and its districts has performed during the Covid pandemic. With three housing developments ongoing at ‘Elegance’ at Ackworth, ‘Verve’ at Glasshoughton and ‘Rhythm’ at Pontefract, we have been well placed to see how the local market has responded to the most acute social and economic challenges since the post-war era.
Elegance has been a great example of how robust the housing market is in Ackworth. The site has run for more than a decade and is well established with over 500 homes now completed. To sustain this level of activity over so long is quite an achievement when you consider the wider economic backdrop within the period: recovery from the recession, the referendum and Brexit and, of course, latterly the pandemic. Ackworth has remained a popular site because it has that perfect combination of sought-after village location and wider connectivity – something that Wakefield and its districts offers in abundance.
Two new sites have launched during the last twelve months: Verve and Rhythm, with 250 and 130 homes respectively. These sites offer a different perspective on the local housing market as they gauge new buyers’ appetite and confidence to buy o_ plan. The response to both locations has surpassed expectation with over 100 homes sold o_ plan ahead of show homes being launched.
The variety of each site and its location attracts different buyers for different reasons but the underlying strength of connectivity to the wider region, coupled with Wakefield’s access to the countryside, is clearly a key factor. Both of these strong selling sites are important because they not only tell a story about buyer confidence but also about job security, affordability and future outlook.
That’s not to say that there haven’t been challenges when selling and buying homes during the pandemic. Strata have been heartened by the way their customers have adapted to remote and digital platforms to make their buying decisions. However, whether it’s socially distanced appointments or through online live chat or a combination of both, the fundamentals still hold true - building trust and focusing on their customers’ specific needs and ensuring that they feel safe, secure and informed throughout the whole journey.
Andrew Weaver, Chief Executive of Strata, notes: Housing markets are notoriously cyclical and they don’t take much to dampen demand if the unexpected happens. Sourcing land and building in popular locations that are capable of delivering good affordability and strong sales rates, particularly during periods of uncertainty, are highly prized by house builders such as ourselves. That is why we always look forward with confidence to opening new sites in Wakefield and its districts."