There’s nothing like a vote to leave the EU to add a bit of spice to a residential conference - and so it has proved with this year’s RESI Conference in Wales.
Rarely has the Property Week team felt so simultaneously smug and anxious. Smug because we had correctly called a lot of the big themes such as modular housing, the London slowdown and the proptech effect before the Brexit vote and had landed some of the biggest names from property and politics to debate said issues.
Anxious because the Brexit vote bulldozed quite a chunk of the original agenda and we were not sure what impact it would have on appetite for a three-day event at such an uncertain time for the market.
We needn’t have worried. The number of delegates attending this year’s event has way exceeded expectations, thanks to the strong agenda and even stronger line-up of panellists and speakers, who include new housing and planning minister Gavin Barwell, London’s new deputy mayor for housing James Murray and former chancellor of the exchequer Nigel Lawson.
All three will no doubt be quizzed on the direction government will be taking housing policy at what will be the first major industry outing for Barwell and Murray and the first time Brexiteer Lawson has given his views on the impact of the vote on the sector.
With a whole host of heavyweight industry speakers to boot - Berkeley’s Tony Pidgley, Urban Splash’s Tom Bloxham and Residential Land’s Bruce Ritchie to name but three - RESI 2016 is set to be the place to get answers to many of the big questions facing the sector, not least whether modular construction offers a solution to the housing crisis and how to deliver more housing at a more affordable price.
This week’s issue unashamedly pre-empts these questions. In our Residential & Development section, we reveal the findings of our exclusive survey on the impact of the Brexit vote - and good news, it’s not as dreadful as people thought. In our Hot Housing Index, we rank the best places to live in the UK - and spoiler alert, in the top spot is Crewe.
What the… I hear you exclaim. Find out why, but suffice to say it is largely down to its affordability and its transport infrastructure, a new metric introduced this year. We also hear from Berkeley’s Urban House masters (geddit?) in a fascinating Q&A on what motivated Pidgley’s team to move into modern methods of construction. And in markets, we assess the scope for modular to go mainstream and look at the role multi-generational housing can play in meeting the demands of a changing demographic.
It’s a must-read issue - as befits a must-attend event. This year marks the 10th anniversary of RESI and to celebrate, we will be revealing the two outstanding residential developments of the past decade in 10 for 10, a special one-off award sponsored by Mansion Global. We will also be looking forward to the next 10 years and hearing from the people we think will be the game-changers. It’s going to be a corker: hope to see you there.