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Rising Above The Growing Competition For Small Sites

Real Developer creator and TrustedLand founder Alex Harrington-Griffin comments

The land market is currently extremely competitive, not made any easier by the ready supply of cash and a degree of desperation to keep small build teams busy. TrustedLand has just reported a 47% drop in appetite over four quarters for the size of scheme SME Developers are willing to take on, which can only mean a greater squeeze on small sites. This means more competition, and a greater need to stand out.

Each quarter, TrustedLand offers it’s annually accredited Real Developers the chance to submit and publish their quarterly land requirements to its land network. In Q1, the average lower-end of their requirements was 13.5 residential units. Now, the focus sits at a lower-end of 7.1 units.

If I was to summarise comments from our current cohort, build cost and labour supply issues, market and post-Covid economic uncertainty, new entrants, planning delays and purely risk-able buyers have forced these generally small firms to adjust what they would take on. Despite feeling ambitious at the start of the year, which we reported at an average growth ambition of 3x previous typical unit numbers, many have pulled back for more familiar schemes.

With the government, encouragingly, still banging the SME drum for increasing housing delivery, this reduction in ambition is obviously disappointing, but fully understandable. At a recent HBF Market Intelligence conference, chairman Stewart Basely stated that he couldn't think of a time when so many challenges faced the development community.

So with a renewed focus by established SME’s on developments below the affordable threshold, what can you do to enhance your sourcing, introductions and bids? These are three suggestions, and strong ones, based on watching various deals progressed by the Real Developers this year.

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