A birds eye view of the edge of a settlement with land with a red line around it marked for development

Encouraging Start to 2024 for Land Developments

After a muted 2023, 2024 is already looking more positive, with more mortgage products available and at a lower rate reflecting the mortgage market’s anticipation of bank interest rate decreases in the coming 12 months. Although both Plc and SME developers have reported a drop in house sales in 2023, developers are reporting an encouraging start to the year in terms of house sales and increased footfall. House builders still have targets to hit and a requirement to build new homes, even with the issues mentioned above, and we have seen an increase in enquiries since the New Year from developers, albeit slightly more restrained than in previous years.

Many housebuilders are still looking to enter into contracts on strategic land under Option or Promotion Agreements, even if they are taking a more cautious approach to building on more immediate sites. We have seen a growth in developers signing up strategic sites as a longer-term business strategy.

Overall, developers are still being guarded in their approach to land buying but sites in the right location and with limited issues will still sell well. There is also now a pent up demand for new sites with their being few coming to the market in 2023.

To maximise your opportunities going forward, landowners should keep abreast of when local authorities are conducting Local Plan or Greenbelt reviews, particularly If they have land on the edge of a settlement.

Landowners or farmers looking to sell the right land in the right place could speak to a planning consultant and promote their land themselves or sign up with a housebuilder or promoter to take on the risk. Before signing anything, it’s imperative to do due diligence on any promoter or developer to ensure they are financially robust, and it is useful if they have had a successful track record from a planning perspective in the locality as this may result in them obtaining planning quicker and more efficiently on your behalf.

Any landowner looking to sign up with a developer or promoter should also ensure they have all their ‘ducks in a row’ in terms of any legal issues that may need to be resolved, such as third-party interests or title issues, and we would recommend taking tax advice from a specialist tax advisor so you are protected from any excessive tax liabilities.

Engaging a qualified Agent with experience of dealing with development work will steer you clear of the pitfalls and problems of a development land sale, if landowners are looking to diversify or obtain a second income stream and their land is not suitable for development, the Agent may be able to identify other opportunities to benefit from Biodiversity Net Gain credits or Nutrient Neutrality mitigation.

If you wish to speak with a member of our team regarding land for development opportunities, contact your local H&H office today: