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Boyes Turner is delighted to partner with the Thames Valley Property Awards as sponsor of the Housebuilder of the Year. At a time when housing affordability continues to be the industry’s key challenge, we’ve welcomed entries from housebuilders leading in placemaking, community building, and green homes.

The UK housebuilding market’s challenges are well documented – from planning delays, ongoing labour shortages, escalating construction costs through to a squeezed, protracted supply chain and regulatory reform, together with consumer demands for increasingly sustainable development.

As a sector, the mantra we keep hearing has been “survive til 2025”. There’s an expectation that an easing off of the cost-of-living crisis, reduced inflation and more supporting government will support renewed confidence in the sector.  

For companies entering the Housebuilder of the Year award, where are the opportunities for growth and innovation?

Addressing the private housing market

National housing statistics are showing that although housing affordability is still grim in the South East, the gap between wages and house prices is starting to narrow. As an example, in 2023, the average house in Reading costs 8 to 9 times the average annual wage in Reading and Slough, rising to 11 to 12 times annual earnings in Oxford, Wokingham, and Windsor. But these ratios are not increasing as quickly as previously.  

Increasing housing supply would help to address what is arguably the main problem in our region: that it is so difficult for regular working- and middle-class people to afford their own home. Prioritising accessible, affordable, quality housing - with strong links to infrastructure, while being sensitive to existing communities - continues to be the key challenge and goal for the market.

Championing change


Because build cost inflation has arguably now slowed to more sensible levels, the main impacts on supply of new housing that clients tell us about are planning and utilities. Both of those factors need effective government action to be resolved.

The number of planning consents has plummeted in recent times, with a 30% drop between 2021 and 2023. Who would join a Council planning department in the current climate, and how much can a new government do to reimpose and enforce effective area housing targets?

And there needs to be a huge amount of investment in the National Grid, and in renewables, to meet the demands of new homes, the logistics and tech sectors, and electric vehicles.

Home builders are pushing for these issues to be addressed and should continue to do so into 2025.

Sustainability and community building


As an industry, sustainability and community building must be further integrated into everything we do. Innovation opportunities lie in how we continue to meet the demand that buyers have for energy efficient and ‘green’ homes. In addition to initiatives like Passivhaus, we are seeing homes being marketed as ‘zero bills’ and expect this trend to continue.

Despite the challenges, the Thames Valley’s housebuilding market presents exciting opportunities for growth, innovation and sustainability. A short election period, potential new government and recovering economy all point to a more positive climate. Innovations in construction technology supporting cost and time efficient home building, the emphasis on sustainable and energy-efficient housing, together with the potential to unlock stalled regeneration and redevelopment projects, all point to a market that not only meets growing demands but contributes to the region’s long-term economic successes, resilience, and environmental sustainability.

We look forward to celebrating your success as part of the Thames Valley Property Awards again, this year

Consistent with our policy when giving comment and advice on a non-specific basis, we cannot assume legal responsibility for the accuracy of any particular statement. In the case of specific problems we recommend that professional advice be sought.

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