April Ponderings - 2024

April Professional Ponderings

Green Shoots of Recovery?


With the Spring weather beginning to improve, we are also hopeful that there are green shoots of recovery in the housing, and development land markets. Inflation, which in February last year was at 10.4% using the governments preferred measure, has fallen rapidly with the latest data now standing at 3.4% with many market commentators predicting further falls to the government’s target of 2% later this year. This in turn is reflected in the outlook for interest rates, with mortgages and long-term finance becoming more affordable and perceived as less of a risk. These positive market indicators are reflected in the share price of the UK’s major housebuilders, with the share price of the FTSE 100 listed housebuilders (Barratts, Persimmon, Taylor Wimpey and Berkely Group) increasing by an average of 15.5% over the last 6 months.


We are also seeing a change of approach in the land teams that we deal with at the major housebuilders, who are now actively looking for immediate land opportunities (i.e. land with a planning permission) whereas before they were mainly focussed on securing longer term strategic opportunities. In addition, where we have sites under agreements with developers, they are now seeking to push planning applications forward with local planning authorities, and these include sites for residential development in Huntingdonshire (70 dwellings), Cambridge (a 68-bed care home scheme) and Biggleswade (circa 300 dwellings).


There is a general consensus in the industry that there are a limited number of immediate land opportunities coming through the planning system, and at Bletsoes we are working on the marketing of a number of sites that will provide an interesting barometer for the development land including an allocated site for circa 60 dwellings at Helpston, Cambridgeshire, an allocated site for 500 dwellings in Northamptonshire and a scheme in Ratby, Leicestershire where a Promoter has recently achieved planning permission at appeal for 225 dwellings. These sites should provide an interesting test for the market, particularly as they are spread over the wide geographic area in which we operate.


Please contact us if you have any land with the potential for development, and we will be very happy to discuss the opportunity with you on a ‘no obligation’ basis. We have extensive contact with housebuilders and promoters, and we are often able to negotiate terms on landowners’ behalf so that promoters/developers take on the cost and risk of promoting potential development land and ultimately securing planning permission.


Members of the Planning and Development team will be available for informal discussions at the following shows:






In addition, along with the Agricultural team, we will also be holding rural business clinics in Thrapston Livestock Market, with the first clinic on 27 April 2024 between 10:00am to 12:30pm.  Please do feel free to speak to us about any opportunities on your land holdings.


Alistair Brodie                                   Peter Moore                                         Andrew Middleditch

Partner                                               Partner                                               Salaried Partner

Alistair.brodie@bletsoes.co.uk      peter.moore@bletsoes.co.uk            andrew.middleditch@bletsoes.co.uk



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