New homes: having it all

Techniques and technologies have reached the point at which new home buyers can, at a price, enjoy large spaces with small running costs and modern conveniences with whichever style of architecture they prefer.

The Dorset house in our main image and to the left was built not in the early 1800s, but in 2022. An authentic Regency design by Peter Thompson Architects of Wimborne, its walls are of hand made brick and knapped flint, under a typical shallow pitched slate roof with wide eaves. The period theme is continued inside where tall hardwood sash windows let light into beautiful reception areas with 11 foot high ceilings. Yet those same walls meet the highest standards of insulation and the shallow roofs have integral solar panels. The interiors have Cat 6 ethernet connections and a sophisticated ventilation heat recovery system with dual air source heat pumps. The large garage has high speed electric car charging points and there is a 10m x 4m electrically heated indoor swimming pool. Yet with an A class energy rating of 93/100, this 6,000 square foot house uses less electricity than an average semi. All houses can be built to this standard. Over time, they are less expensive to own than less efficient ones.

End of Help to Buy
For almost a decade, Help to Buy has been central to the strategy of UK volume house builders, involving up to 48% of their annual sales (National Audit Office, 2018). Introduced in 2013, the end date for new Help to Buy applications – 31st October 2022 – thus marks the close of a major era for Barratt, Persimmon et al. The market effects of this are hard to predict, but the impact on the businesses which have relied upon the scheme is likely to be significant. Over 355,000 purchases have been made using it, with the total of government loans now exceeding £22 billion.

Building to a higher standard
Further down the volume scale, any effect of the ending of Help to Buy, should be slight. Most smaller house builders, build bigger houses. They are not aimed at the first time buyers who accounted for over 80% of Help to Buy purchasers. These developers are also much more led by customer demand, than government policy, in relation to both style and standards. New building materials such as beams made of glass or ultra-thin aluminium, windows which minimise solar gain as well as heat loss, and technologies such as underfloor heating, have led to an unprecedented variety in the architectural options on offer and ever-higher building standards. Such new homes are exciting and enjoyably practical places to live.

Above: Cheshire £2,200,000 guide

In a bid to raise minimum standards, new regulations came into force in June 2022 which the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities say ‘mark an important step on our journey towards a cleaner, greener built environment and it supports us in our target to reduce the UK’s carbon emissions to net-zero by 2050’. Key changes include:

- New homes will need to produce at least 31% lower carbon emissions
- New insulation standards for walls, windows and doors
- Heating systems must have a maximum flow temperature of 55°C
- Glazing limits to reduce solar gain
- Preparatory work for future installation of an electric vehicle charging point

Right: Northamptonshire £825,000 guide

These sound impressive, but some of the house builders for whom we act have stressed that they were already building to higher overall standards, as exemplified by the Dorset house and others featured here. Central to this is scepticism about how the 31% lower carbon emissions are calculated. The London Energy Transformation Initiative says that the real reductions achieved are likely to be 10% at best.

The new regulations are an interim measure ahead of a new Future Homes Standard being introduced in 2025. This will require new homes to be capable of being net zero in terms of operational carbon when the grid decarbonises (i.e. is free of electricity generated using fossil fuels). The government target date for grid decarbonisation, is 2035.

Why Choose Jackson-Stops?

At Jackson-Stops, our renowned sales teams for new builds are prepared to help you purchase your new home. We work with a wide range of new home developers, including respected boutique firms and premier national home builders. Whether you are looking to buy off-plan or at the completion stage, for investment purposes or as your primary house, our services are tailored to your unique needs. Browse our collection of new build homes for sale and get in touch with our local branch today.