Scots home buyers rush to buy larger houses with gardens as Springfield Properties reports demand spike

Springfield Properties, Scotland’s only listed housebuilder, has reported a strong rebound since it resumed operations in late June with buyers seeking “larger homes, gardens and access to plenty of green space”.

Innes Smith is the chief executive of Springfield Properties, which is Scotland’s only listed housebuilder.
Innes Smith is the chief executive of Springfield Properties, which is Scotland’s only listed housebuilder.

Bosses said the group was delivering against a “substantial” backlog and was experiencing high levels of demand.

As a result, total revenues for the first half of 2020/21 are running about 17 per cent higher than in the same period last year.

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That growth has been driven by a strong performance from the group’s private housing and reflects the completion of homes that had been scheduled to be delivered in April and May. For the previous two years, these months had accounted for 30 per cent of annual revenue.

The firm told investors: “Since the initial lockdown ended in June, the group experienced strong sales activity both as a result of pent-up demand as well as an increasing desirability for the type of private housing Springfield offers with larger homes, gardens and access to plenty of green space, particularly at its Village developments.

“This demand has been underpinned by Scottish Government initiatives including the First Home Fund, Help to Buy and the Land and Buildings Transactions Tax holiday.”

The firm noted a reduction in affordable housing revenue but said it continued to deliver against a strong order book of contracted revenue in affordable housing and remained on track to deliver growth in this segment for the full year.

This has been further supported by the Scottish Government announcing, on 30 November, an additional £200 million in funding for the affordable housing supply programme in 2021/22.

Chief executive Innes Smith said: “This has been a strong six months for Springfield. We were able to safely and efficiently resume construction to complete the homes that had been scheduled for handover at the end of the previous financial year.

“We re-opened to significant sales interest, reflecting pent-up demand and the increasing desirability for spacious homes with private gardens and easy access to plenty of green space; the type of housing Springfield offers.

“As a result, we were able to deliver significant revenue growth and substantially reduce our net debt position. We also continued to progress the development of our large, high-quality land bank in key geographies across Scotland.

“This includes receiving planning approval for homes for the private rental sector, which will add a new, highly secure revenue stream and underscores our commitment to develop mixed-tenure Villages that meet everyone’s housing needs.”

The firm recently gained the green light to construct its first homes for the private rental market.

It was granted planning approval for 75 homes to be built at its Bertha Park development in Perth.

The move marked Springfield’s entry into the private rental sector (PRS), delivering purpose-built houses for families to rent.

Bertha Park is one of the group’s “village” developments, comprising private and affordable housing, alongside neighbourhood amenities, such as a convenience store, play park and secondary school.

Perth and Kinross Council has now approved the construction of 75 houses for families to rent privately, which will comprise 22 two-bedroom terraced houses, 49 three-bedroom semi/terraced houses and four four-bedroom semi/terraced houses.

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