The stars of residential gathered at London’s Grosvenor House last week to celebrate the RESI Awards, hosted by Stephen K Amos. We reveal the full list of winners and runners-up along with the judges’ comments.
This year Property Week received a record number of entries.
The Personality of the Year award went to Steve Morgan, the outgoing chairman of housebuilder Redrow. A titan of the housing industry, Morgan founded Redrow with a £5,000 loan in 1974. Since then he has overseen its growth into a FTSE-250 company and one of the UK’s largest housebuilders with annual revenues of close to £2bn in 2018. When he announced his retirement as its chairman at the end of November, Redrow had just completed its 100,000th home. Morgan also received a CBE in 2016 for his philanthropic work.
Homes England took the Deal of the Year award for its acquisition of the 494-acre Northern Arc site in Burgess Hill – the agency’s biggest-ever land investment, which will enable the delivery of 3,500 homes. It brokered deals with 11 separate landowners to secure the site and contracted within four months.
There were two winners in the Development of the Year category – Bow Garden Square by Telford Homes, Poplar HARCA and the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.
See the full rundown of all the winners below.
Winner: Kexgill Group
The development opened in September 2018 and is being dubbed the UK’s first ‘hybrid hall’, combining the independence of a house share with the social and safety benefits of living in university-managed accommodation. Students also benefit from a year-round calendar of events, weekly cleaning and an app to book repairs.
The judges were impressed with Kexgill’s unique offering at University Quarter in Hull, which they said put the customer at the heart of everything. Kexgill’s innovative hybrid hall showed “genuine consideration for students” and would also drive returns for investors, said the judges. “This is an innovative solution focused on community and affordability.”
Sponsored by: Yardi
Winner: SAY Property Consulting
Debra Yudolph’s consultancy was praised by the judges for increasing the number of transactions and “punching well above its weight”. “Good story,” they added, highlighting the team’s “incredible customer service” and “great strategy”. They were also won over by how “creative, innovative, forward thinking, sustainable, ethical and diverse” the business is.
Highly commended: Red Loft
Red Loft is on a steep growth trajectory, projecting 75% growth by 2020. Work with local authorities has been a particular area of focus. This was a strong submission, said the judges, who described Red Loft as “a fantastic business focusing on an important niche” and commended it for “dealing with smaller, really important projects”.
Sponsored by: Sigma Capital
Winner: Homes England – Northern Arc, Burgess Hill
The government agency brokered deals with 11 separate landowners and pulled it all off in a single deal within four months. It plans to take on a ‘master-developer’ role for the scheme and will deliver new infrastructure, schools, leisure facilities and 30% affordable housing.
Homes England’s investment in the Northern Arc site was described as an exemplar of its new master-developer role. The judges said the deal was “bold and innovative” and showed the public sector working at its best. “This is a symbolic deal,” they added. “It’s an exemplar in terms of new thinking and the complexity of the deal.”
Highly commended: Scarborough International Properties – sale of Middlewood Locks PRS apartments
Scarborough completed the largest-ever BTR deal outside London when it sold 823 units in its Middlewood Locks scheme in Manchester to Get Living for £180m under its FairBriar JV.
The deal, which comprised both the sale of 277 completed apartments and the forward funding of the remainder, involved four international investors and required regulatory approval. It also marked the first acquisition outside London for Get Living.
The judges described it as a “landmark deal” that was all the more impressive given the political turmoil surrounding Brexit. “It was an innovative and challenging deal,” they said.
Sponsored by: RPS Group
Joint winner: Television Centre – Stanhope
The scheme retained the grade II-listed facade of the original 1960s building while opening the space to the public for the first time in its history, and achieved the highest prices per square foot ever seen in the W12 postcode.
According to the submission, the reimagining of the former BBC Television Centre in White City is more than just a building – it is a retained piece of British cultural heritage and a catalyst for the wider regeneration and reinstatement of civic pride in a hitherto neglected London area.
“There’s a real vibe there,” said the judges, commending the fact that the affordable housing is on site and the “real sense of community”. “Outstanding preservation of an iconic heritage site,” said one judge.
Joint winner: Bow Garden Square – Telford Homes, Poplar HARCA and the London Borough of Tower Hamlets
Challenges included not being able to carry out demolition works during school break times and accommodating a protected ancient tree. The judges said the scheme, which includes private-sale and affordable homes for shared ownership and social rent, was “complex and worthy” and “the sort of scheme London needs more of”.
Sponsored by: Knight Frank
Winner: Lloyds Bank
Its key transactions included a £100m, 15-year loan to The PRS REIT through the Scottish Widows partnership and three loans made under its £1bn Green Lending initiative, including a £227m loan for a resi-led regeneration scheme in Greenwich.
The judges were impressed by the breadth of Lloyds Bank’s lending to the residential sector and its commitment to supporting the social housing sector. The bank provided £4.1bn of financing to social housing clients in 2018. Lloyds’ green loans initiative and its backing of the Housing Growth Partnership were also praised. “Great submission,” said the judges.
Sponsored by: City & Docklands
International sales agency
JLL expanded its China sales teams to more than 60 Mandarin-speaking brokers, opening new offices in second-tier cities and establishing a private office team and China client services team.
The judges highlighted the instructions JLL won, the scale of the business, its strong revenue and its growth in market share.
“The increase in scale and number of instructions were impressive,” they said.
Sponsored by: Blackstock
JLL’s living capital markets team completed transactions worth £2bn in the residential sector last year, ranging from affordable housing to BTR and retirement living. Notably, JLL was at the helm of The Collective’s £120m sale of Old Oak and advised on the £200m funding of One Portal Way. Under Project Sabre, it advised on the creation of a £330m JV between USS and Places for People for PRS investments across the UK.
The way JLL has changed its business in response to market challenges and opportunities was described as “bold” by the judges, who were also impressed by the scale, quality and range of deals the business has advised on.
Sponsored by: Coutts
Landlord – private
Winner: Get Living
Get Living manages more than 2,000 operational BTR homes in London, accounting for around 10% of the market. In 2018, it moved further into the regions, securing planning for Scotland’s largest BTR scheme in Glasgow and acquiring units at Middlewood Locks in Salford.
Get Living wowed judges with its “very strong customer service focus”, strong net promoter score and the expansion of its footprint beyond London. It showed “consistency of resident focus and growth as a landlord”, said the judges, who also singled out the scale of the company’s ambition, innovation and the “wider social community value” it creates. “Very impressive” was the overall verdict.
Highly commended: Simple Life
Simple Life is responsible for Sigma and The PRS REIT’s rental portfolio, which comprises 1,000 operational homes across the UK. It offers high-quality family houses for long-term rent. The judges said Simple Life was “a pioneer operating at the early stages of the family rental accommodation sector” and praised its “commendable approach to enhancing residents’ lives”. “Notably different to the mainstream,” they said.
Sponsored by: FirstPort
Landlord – social
Winner: Home Group
In 2018, Home Group accelerated its development and sales activity, completing more than 1,700 homes – almost three times the number delivered in 2015.
It was chosen as a strategic partner by Homes England and the Greater London Authority, in deals that will see it provide 3,200 homes. Home Group is also exploring how modern construction methods can accelerate work at its Gateshead Innovation Village.
The landlord impressed the judges with the “massive strides” it has taken in a difficult market. This business has seen “significant growth supported by a strong and resilient business plan”, said the judges, commending its ability to “deliver at volume”.
Highly commended: Thrive Homes
Thrive Homes has gone from having no housebuilding programme in 2015 to building 150 homes this year, and aims to increase that figure to 250 a year from 2020.
The company impressed with its innovative use of digital and great focus on the customer. “Small but trying to differentiate on digital transformation,” said the judges, who praised its bold approach.
Sponsored by: Hyperoptic
Winner: Redrow Homes
For the financial year ended June 2018, Redrow reported record revenues of £1.92bn and record pre-tax profits of £380m, as well as completing almost 6,000 homes.
It has been instrumental in developing the new wave of garden villages with projects in Stockport, Cardiff, Tamworth and London, and has launched a new product called Heritage Lifestyle aimed at downsizers. It also handed over its 100,000th home in October.
The judges said Redrow had really “moved the dial” over the past year. “The quality of what they build is very good,” they said, also noting the range of product across the UK and the firm’s growing reputation in London. They were also impressed with its record revenues and strong sustainability credentials.
Sponsored by: Savills
Last year, Savills opened two new offices and acquired three new businesses, which helped it to increase its managed portfolio by a whopping 38%.
It renewed the tenancy with the highest-known UK rent at £216,000 per calendar month and won a highly contested instruction to be on the agent panel for L&Q on a portfolio of 3,200 new properties. In addition, it set up a Japanese desk in January 2018.
Despite increased costs, its total revenue grew 10%. The judges described the entry as “standout”, noting its growth in overall market share in the letting agency market, its strong customer focus and expansion last year.
Sponsored by: JM2
Newcomer of the year
Joint winner: Legal & General Homes
Legal & General Homes launched its first development at Buckler’s Park in Crowthorne in January 2018 and aims to challenge the perception that new-builds are inferior to older homes.
The company’s annual number of completions is expected to reach around 900 by 2023.
The judges praised Legal & General Homes’ “intention to disrupt” and said that such was the scale of the business it could stimulate demand and challenge the volume housebuilders.
“We view them as top of their pedigree,” they said. “They have the capacity to challenge leaders in quality and will have a huge impact for years to come. This is a courageous approach to innovation from a historically conservative institution.”
Joint winner: Apex Airspace
For the past three years, Apex Airspace has pioneered the use of airspace to create new homes in London. It has also helped shape the government’s policies on airspace development and in September secured a £10m finance facility with the GLA to help develop 500 rooftop homes in London.
The judges thought this was a truly “disruptive solution” to the housing shortage and praised the company not just for being “innovative and different” but also for its advocacy work in highlighting the amount of unused space that can be better deployed.
What Apex is doing is “very important”, said the judges. “This will have a genuine impact on the sector.”
Sponsored by: G Network
Winner: Rendall & Rittner
Rendall & Rittner grew its turnover by almost 20% in 2018 with its portfolio growing organically by 6,000 units and another 10,000 added through acquisitions.
The judges described Rendall & Rittner as “consistently best in class”. They commended its “innovative approach”, “great customer service” and Back to the Floor initiative and also noted its strong financial performance. “Great management company and good financials,” was the universal verdict. “It performs well across every metric. Excellent.”
Highly commended: FirstPort
FirstPort had its most successful year to date in 2018 for new business, increasing the number of units in its portfolio by 62% year on year with 8,100 additions.
The judges applauded FirstPort for “great industry thought leadership” proactively addressing negative feedback and improving its credentials, especially in health and safety. The submission demonstrated “a good evolution from last year”, said the judges.
Sponsored by: Harris Associates
Winner: Placefirst – Welsh Streets, Toxteth
Placefirst’s creation of an exciting neighbourhood in Toxteth, in Liverpool, involves the complete transformation of five streets of Victorian terraced housing and the conversion of an old rear alleyway to deliver 294 new BTR homes.
In 2018, it released 99 rental homes, every single one of which were reserved off-plan ahead of completion – a huge achievement in an area that had previously been home to more than 400 empty properties set for demolition.
“Bold and innovative,” said the judges, who praised the scheme’s “community focus” and Placefirst’s ability to overcome adversity to have a real social impact. “This is proper innovation,” they said. “Creative and transformative.”
Sponsored by: TowerEight
Retirement living operator
Winner: Inspired Villages Group
Since it was established in August 2017, Inspired has grown to a team of more than 160 people looking after more than 700 residents in seven villages. The business contracted seven new sites in 2018 with a combined GDV of £706m, creating 1,200 new homes.
With a further 1,000 homes in the pipeline, Inspired is on track to deliver £1.3bn of development and expecting to buy another 10 sites in the coming year. This outfit scooped the win for its “genuine innovation and ambition”. “They are incredibly active and doing all the right things,” said the judges, who noted its “dramatic growth in 2018” and huge impact the group is already having on the sector.
“They offer a compelling combination of financial and management innovation in this market,” said the judges.
Sponsored by: Osborne Clarke
Winner: Scarborough International Properties
Last October, Scarborough International Properties completed phase one of its £1bn scheme at Middlewood Locks in Manchester, which it is developing alongside Metro Holdings and Hualing Group, delivering 571 of the scheme’s 2,215 new homes. Having designed the first two phases with PRS in mind, Scarborough approached PRS business Get Living to buy 823 apartments. The £180m transaction was completed in November.
Last year represented “a massive leap from what they’ve done before”, said the judges, adding: “They have taken on a major regeneration with complex funding arrangements… brilliantly orchestrating demanding foreign investors and PRS investors in a challenging market.”
Highly commended: Placefirst
The completion of three new BTR communities made 2018 a busy year for Placefirst. The regeneration specialist completed phase two of its Welsh Streets scheme in Liverpool and finished 94 homes at The Green in Hartlepool and 74 homes in Leeds at Cross Heath Grove. The business increased its investment in new homes by 36% in 2018.
“Very innovative,” said the judges, who praised its focus on small schemes in areas otherwise untouched in recent years. “Fantastic regeneration,” they added.
Sponsored by: Aldermore Bank
Student accommodation operator
Scape opened its ninth site in 2018, taking its portfolio to 3,368 beds. The operator invested more than £160m in the acquisition and redevelopment of Woburn Place, now Scape Bloomsbury, which features 432 beds, bespoke furniture and artwork on every floor.
Boasting 97% occupancy throughout the year, the business saw its revenue climb by 27% year on year, and maintained a yield of 4% for its managed properties.
The judges loved this entry. “Great business,” they said, praising Scape’s “exemplary” knowledge and expertise and highlighting its “well-designed buildings with great communal areas”.
The judges also praised its Future Shapers competition offering winners a desk at WeWork for a year and its focus on health and wellbeing. “Great financial performance and a real focus on their clients,” they said.
Highly commended: The Kexgill Group
Kexgill Group set out to overhaul a run-down, eight-acre site adjacent to the University of Hull campus to create a student community that was affordable to live in.
The developer and university invested £60m in the 200 new student homes – dubbed the UK’s first ‘hybrid halls’ – with a full range of price offerings.
The University Quarter officially opened last summer, offering 200 new homes and two refurbished halls of residence created in a unique partnership between the University of Hull and Kexgill Group.
The submission was “a good entry; a bit different”, said the judges, who praised Kexgill for being “innovative in a micro market and a great example of how to create a great product for a specific market segment”.
Sponsored by: Staykeepers
UK sales agency
In 2018, Savills sold more than 32,000 properties across the residential, new homes, BTR and auctions markets, reflecting 12% growth year on year.
A major investment in its digital offering gave Savills access to 160,000 extra potential clients in target areas using Google Analytics and Savills Brand Tracker.
Its Facebook traffic rose by 140% during the year, and a new buyer-targeting algorithm increased the new homes team’s leads by 6,000%.
The judges were impressed by Savills’ strong figures. The firm won market share and its income per fee earner was described as “amazing”. Its customer service statistics also impressed.
Highly commended: Beauchamp Estates
Beauchamp Estates was behind two of 2018’s largest residential transactions in prime central London: it sold Stanhope Gate for £43m and Belgrave Square for £50m.
Last year, Beauchamp established a presence in the Chinese market using the country’s WeChat platform to post regularly in Mandarin. As a result, its founder Gary Hersham is now a columnist on WeChat and Chinese property portal Juwai.com, allowing Beauchamp to reach a brand-new audience.
It also produced a Surrey-focused report featuring lifestyle and property data to help buyers with limited knowledge of the area.
Judges praised Beauchamp Estates’ growing market share and its use of WeChat.
Sponsored by: Long Harbour
Winner: Steve Morgan
A titan of the housing industry, Steve Morgan founded Redrow with a £5,000 loan in 1974. Since then, he has overseen its growth into a FTSE 250 company and one of the UK’s largest housebuilders with annual revenues of close to £2bn in 2018. When he announced his retirement as chairman at the end of March, Redrow had just completed its 100,000th home. In a further career highlight, Morgan received a CBE in 2016 for his philanthropic work.
Sponsored by: NFU Mutual