Spotlight: Disruption in development

The impact of political, financial and environmental disruption on the development industry

Talk about disruption and people typically think of a new product or manufacturing method that transforms an industry. Housebuilding appears ripe for such change.

There have been repeated calls for the industry to diversify to meet housing demand. With government and private investment in modern methods of construction, housebuilding appears to be on the verge of a tech-driven revolution.

However, focusing solely on technology would be to miss the wider financial, political and social changes that will shape demand for housing.

In this low interest rate global environment, institutional investors are after steady income streams. Residential will be an attractive asset, particularly if it can provide a long-term, index-linked income, such as affordable housing. For this to happen, developers must understand the priorities of large investors and adjust their product accordingly. Politically, there are increasingly interventionist policy debates around how to meet the UK’s housing needs. Coming to the fore are the issues of land value capture and the provision of social housing. Both could have a big impact on financial models, putting pressure on developer margins and land value. Finally, the development industry can’t ignore the challenges posed by environmental change. Meeting carbon emission goals will require radical change in how we plan and deliver housing.

This report investigates how these forces will interact, and identifies the methods developers can adopt to deliver resilient and sustainable housing in an ever-more unpredictable market.

Read the articles within Spotlight: Disruption in development below.

Articles within this publication

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