Housing minister Esther McVey’s first housing industry address fell flat among many RESI delegates as she promoted home ownership above all other types of housing.
“All people want to own their own homes… It is about aspiration; it is about financial security,” McVey said.
Grumbles about our freshly minted housing minister were commonplace throughout the rest of the day – a truly unifying moment for the industry.
Broadcaster and writer Kevin McCloud also took to the stage for an in-depth conversation with Paul Finch from Architects’ Journal.
McCloud highlighted how tough the current market is for SME housebuilders, calling for changes to planning and greater government support for the sector.
Delegates were then treated to Lawrence Bowles from Savills delivering brilliant insights about how we needed to reform planning and delivery to improve residential development and BTR’s massive growth potential.
“Looking ahead, there are three key themes that we believe are going to shape the residential market going forward and the disruption in these three areas is going to be really key,” said Bowles. “Disruption in the way that we plan, disruption in tenure, and disruption in the way that we deliver these homes.”
Of course, RESI 2019’s overriding theme is mixed-use. But delivering these schemes is not easy.
Many panellists throughout the day found common ground on this issue, with Steven Norris, chairman of Soho Estates, arguing that “when local authorities and private developers work together they work brilliantly”.
Most at RESI were in agreement that modular’s time had finally come and that it would help provide quality homes across the UK, despite the challenges of Brexit.
With 53% of RESI delegates voting that they would rent a modular home because they “love the design credentials”, the sector is certainly shaking off its post-war pre-fab label.
One company demonstrating innovative design credentials is Apex Airspace, whose managing director Val Bagnall told the audience that by building above airspaces we can unlock planning constraints and help solve the housing crisis.
Other hot topics throughout day two included debates about the next growth residential asset class. Apache Capital’s managing director Richard Jackson said later living would be the next sector to boom thanks in part to an ageing population.
Delegates were also treated to drinks and canapés before heading to dinner, where the #RESIHackathon winners were revealed.