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How Nimbus is supporting developers to bridge the housing shortage

31/05/2023

The UK's housing supply situation has reached a critical point. The cost of an average house in England now exceeds ten times the average salary, and whilst the vacancy rates dip below 1%, private renters are facing a significant decline in the amount of living space per person, highlighting the deepening crisis that has plagued the housing sector for decades. 

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In a comprehensive report by the Centre for Cities*, the root causes of the UK's housing problem are uncovered, shedding light on the evolving policy landscape in this area over the past 75 years. The report reveals a staggering backlog of 4.3 million homes that were never constructed, leaving a glaring void in the national housing market when compared to the average European country. 

Even with the current government target of building 300,000 homes annually, it would take at least 50 years to address this housing deficit. To expedite the solution, England alone would require a staggering 442,000 homes per year over the next 25 years or a staggering 654,000 homes per year over the next decade. 

 

Empowering small and medium-sized (SME) developers

A crucial solution to address the housing shortage lies in reversing the alarming decline of smaller builders, commonly known as SME developers. Over the past three decades, the number of small builders has dwindled at an alarming rate. However, unlocking the potential of these SME builders and equipping them with the same toolkits available to larger national firms could make a substantial impact. In fact, estimates by the Home Builders Federation suggest that empowering SME developers could boost the housing supply by an impressive 25,000 homes per year. 

This is where data-first companies like Nimbus play a pivotal role. By consolidating valuable data from sources such as HM Land Registry, Ordnance Survey, and GOV.UK, Nimbus enables SME developers to gain access to critical information and unlock new and lucrative development opportunities. By levelling the playing field, these developers can now compete on an equal footing with larger firms, creating a more diverse and dynamic housing market. 

With a greater number of projects at their disposal, SME developers often have the flexibility to choose projects closer to home. This proximity offers numerous benefits, such as the ability to engage local subcontractors, reduce travel times, and ultimately lower the overall costs of delivering the project. By embracing a localised approach, SME developers can contribute not only to the housing supply but also to the growth and sustainability of their communities. 

Harnessing the power of data analytics and market intelligent insights, SME developers can optimise their decision-making processes, identify trends and patterns, and make informed choices about their projects. Nimbus provides the necessary tools and expertise to harness this potential, empowering SME developers to compete in a challenging market and drive positive change in the housing sector. 

 

A change of direction with a change of use 🏗

Nimbus goes beyond assisting developers in finding potential development sites; it also plays a crucial role in identifying and capitalising on change-of-use opportunities. Through our advanced data analysis and comprehensive market insights, we uncover multiple possibilities every day for developers to convert buildings from one use to another. These transformations can range from repurposing retail spaces into residential units to converting industrial buildings into vibrant office spaces. 

The significance of change-of-use developments cannot be overstated. Not only do they offer the potential for rapid delivery, surpassing the timelines associated with new builds, but they also breathe new life into underutilised spaces. In particular, these conversions have the power to revitalise our town centres, where traditional uses are experiencing a rapid decline in demand. It is worth noting that, according to a report by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government approximately 13% of the 275,000 net new homes built in 2018/19 were a result of conversions and change-of-use projects. By increasing this percentage to 20%, an additional 20,000 new dwellings could be delivered annually. 

With Nimbus at their disposal, developers gain the ability to easily identify and evaluate these change-of-use opportunities. Our platform empowers them to unlock the potential of more development sites and contribute significantly to increasing the overall housing supply across the UK. By capitalising on these opportunities, developers can address the urgent need for housing in a more efficient and sustainable manner. 

 

Bridging the gap, together 🤝

Nimbus connects residential developers and investors with property opportunities across the UK. It uses advanced data analysis, planning tools and market insights to identify potential development sites and assess their viability, taking into account factors such as planning permission, local demand, and potential profitability. This allows developers and investors to find more opportunities at speed, without having to spend significant amounts of time and resources on market research. 

Nimbus's technology can help to bridge the gap in the UK's housing shortage by enabling developers to find sites at scale, assess them with ease and close more successful deals. By using data-driven insights, developers can optimise their decision-making processes, leading to more efficient use of resources and better outcomes for both developers and potential buyers. In this way, Nimbus is playing a vital role in addressing the UK's housing crisis. 

We are always keen to share what we have learnt and how we can work with developers to support their goals for scaling up. Find out more by scheduling in a free expert-led demo and free trial.

*Ref: https://www.centreforcities.org/publication/the-housebuilding-crisis/   

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