Having recently launched TA Fisher’s latest development, Blue Prior, we took the opportunity to get a developer’s insight on New Homes; what the current market holds, along with their priorities when releasing a new site. Sales and Marketing Manager, Julie Wright, with some input from the land team, was kind enough to offer some of her time for a quick Q & A.
Q. What’s your favourite aspect of working with TA Fisher?
As a privately owned company, we’re a small team, which for me is a bonus. We get to treat each development individually, so every day is different. I’ve overseen 31 developments to date and still approach each development with a fresh perspective. When it comes to my favourite part of the job, without a doubt, it’s completion day. Ultimately for every single team member who has worked on the development, it’s what we’re working towards, what all the effort is for.
Q. What do TA Fisher value the most?
For us, it is and has always been about delivering a quality product that we and our buyer can be proud of. We’re a family firm that have been operating in the Thames Valley for over 100 years, over that time we’ve gained an enviable reputation for building top quality homes and we’re keen to uphold that tradition.
Q. When it comes to selecting the specifications of the home, both internally and externally, how do you go about choosing?
As we treat each development individually, we approach the design process with a fresh take on it each time. We’ll research the current trends, whether that’s white kitchens, chrome fittings etc, and we also look at each plot design, the location and likely target market to make an informed and considered choice. One of the biggest challenges of my role is finding a style to suit all, details such as kitchens, flooring and tiling could become very subjective, we use our research and advice on current trends to support the decisions.
With regards to the external design, both kerb appeal and individuality rank highly for us, as such we tend to spend a bit ‘over the top’ on landscaping to enhance the look and feel of the overall development.
Q. What do you think is the most important thing a buyer looks for in a new home?
Without a doubt, value! Our ethos is “creating value in property”, it has and always will be paramount for us.
Q. Is there one thing you look for in particular when finding a site to develop?
Unsurprisingly, location is everything. We look to buy sites that we know will appeal to our buyer profile.
Q. Have you noticed any challenges facing the New Homes market?
At the moment, the market is really benefitting from the current Government’s incentive programmes such as Help To Buy. The challenge will come if, and when, these new home buying incentives are withdrawn. However, the investment buyers are certainly less active than they were a while ago, and we’ve noticed that the market at the top end of the price bracket is suffering badly from the recent hikes in Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT).
Q. Is there one part of the whole process that could be easier?
The planning system, quite frankly, remains the most frustrating factor in our industry. Despite endless Government intervention attempts to speed up the process, the time it takes from buying a piece of land to laying the first foundations is far too long.
Q. So Blue Prior launched last weekend, what’s your favourite aspect of the development?
I like the mixed community, we have everything on Blue Prior; from new homes to modern offices, a BUPA care home, retirement living and a children’s day nursery. That said, the existing buildings there also posed our biggest challenge – getting the architectural styling right to reflect the surroundings.
Q. How long has Blue Prior taken to get from start to finish?
The planning process was tortuous, as it often is. We submitted our original planning application in 2013 but it took us until 2016 to get all the permissions we needed to start on site! However, once we got going, the whole build, once complete, will have taken 14 months.
Q. Having had a great reception for Blue Prior, do you have any further plans on the horizon for the Hart District area?
Yes, in fact we have another scheme in Fleet, this time for 15 apartments, along with a very nice courtyard development coming up in Hartley Wintney.
We’d like to thank Julie and the team at TA Fisher for giving up their time this week. There isn’t often the opportunity to get an inside look at how the homes are built and the thought processes behind it all. Certainly from our perspective, we deal with the land and the sales of the homes, and whilst we will always lend our advice, research and experience to developers, the in-between phases are best left to the professionals, and with a century of experience, TA Fisher are certainly the right people for the job.