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The New Build Con.


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#91 FedupTeddiBear

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Posted 17 March 2007 - 05:43 PM

Mr FedupTeddiBear works in the building industry & has connections to developers, architects, etc. As a result I can comment on the following:

Can someone prove this to me and let me know where you can buy 3/4 sized furniture?


Many developers DO use this – One company I can think of had some custom made – more like 4/5 size, not ¾; that would be too obvious. This company sells smaller “upmarket” developments and moves the furniture from one show flat to the next with subsequent developments.

The crime is that the cost of building a house is actually quite small, yet because of the bargaining power of these building collectives like Persimmon, you have all the good land snapped up and then planning permission pushed through suspiciously quickly. These developers charge top whack for substandard goods simple because there is no alternative. If you want to self-build you are forced to jump through multiple hoops and negotiate with unfriendly and unsympathetic NIMBY planners working for inefficient local councils. My alternative would be to adopt true free market economics and to release land that has pre-approved planning (within reason) and to sell plots off to self-builders and small developers to create some diversity and real choice.


In Germany, local councils are forced to set aside a minimum number of self-build plots each year. There are restrictions on these that allow only for private self-build with only one house per plot, strictly no commercial developers or “investors”.
Why can’t the UK do something similar?

On the continent here you get one simple price per square metre and are then easily able to check that with the going rate for the area.


A friend went to view some flats for sale about a year ago: some were 2 – bed flats, some advertised as 4- bed. It turned out that the floor area of both flats was about the same – the 4 bedrooms and lounge were absolutely tiny compared to those in the 2-bed flat but the 4-bed flat was on sale for almost double the price! :D

Have the architects all gone to sleep in this country? They don't seem to be working for Bovis, Barrett, Redrow etc.


They are not! These developers do not have to employ qualified architects to design their houses and flats. For most it is cheaper and easier to employ their own “technicians” to do the job the way they want them to.
Large developers only need one or two designs approved (which they reuse ad nauseum) which is not a problem since most of them have a lot of clout or inside help from the council planning departments.

Most newbuild houses now have truss roofs where many small sections of timber held togeather with nail plates are used to build the main frame because they wont payout for a professional joiner to costruct it properly. What this means to you is that you cant use your loftspace for storage as there is simply no room and if you ever wanted to expand and convert it into a extra bedroom/dormer it would be virtualy impossible.


This is not really true. Using gangnail truss roofs is a new technology – yes, it is cheaper, but also easier to construct without losing much in the way of quality. The old system of using professional joiners is only used today where listed buildings need repair matching the way they were built. (Much the same as tiles are used today rather than thatch). Gangnail truss roofs can be used for storage quite easily and can also be converted into loft rooms (but yes, this is more difficult than converting traditional truss roofs.)

#92 bomberbrown

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Posted 17 March 2007 - 08:13 PM

Do storks only deliver to owner-occupiers? Or does renting act as a form of contraception? :P Me and the wife must be wonders of science - we rent and have one no the way. In fact some friends at church also rent and have a baby. Hallelujah, it's a miracle!

Seriously, I can understand that when you've got a family you don't want the risk of moving at the whim of a landlord. However, I don't think it's essential to own, especially to begin with. We're happy to get our family going whilst still renting - to be honest it's another headache we can do without while we're busy getting ready for our arrival. It helps that we rent off friends and that they bought long enough ago to be cash positive. Renting isn't the best option in some cases, but don't dismiss it - sometimes it makes a lot of sense.


Forget the 80's/90's crash, this is my Mum and stepDad circa 1976 with me an 8 yr old and a new born half sister. Not remotely interested in owning a house, just wanting an affordable place to live, and they got it.....and a HA place after that, and a shared ownership gaff in Coventry later on in 1983.

The point I'm trying to make is don't put off having kids because of the housing shambles, you'll find a way. My mum did, I remember her having cleaning jobs in the early 80's and we had a chart on the wall in the kitchen detailing the meals for the week within the monthly budget.

My mum had the monthly household budget right down to the last penny!

Easy credit.....blah ...blah....today...... BLOODS BOILING!!!!
In the 1950s Local Authorities built over 200,000 homes per year. In 2004 they built just 133.
Housing - Trends in tenure and cross tenure topics (general)

#93 nohpc

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 08:09 AM

With regards to the OP's inside information.. well state the obvious why don't you. This is hardly inside information.

#94 silver surfer

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Posted 04 November 2007 - 02:29 PM

Great thread!

I used to rent in Kew Riverside, a new build complex on the banks of the Thames. Prices ranged from about £450k for the smaller flats to £4m for the larger houses. The cracks are starting to show now, metaphorically and physically.

While I was resident there was a major plumbing leak on the top floor which affected about half of one block, and I heard that another block had had a similar incident. And don't forget this was within two or three years of completion in a luxury development with £1m+ selling prices.

We were right underneath the Heathrow flight path, so if you sat out on the balcony on a summer's evening you'd be deafened every few minutes as a plane landed. Then there was a big fall out with the management committee over non-payment of the £2k per year service charges, so the swimming pool was closed and cleaning staff were laid off, which in turn led to the grounds falling into disrepair.

Best of all, the planners only got permission to build by incorporating some local authority housing, so there's packs of feral yobs p1ssing in the flower beds and staging drag races in stolen cars. Most of the properties are owned by BTL landlords or companies for overseas staff, so they can take their lumps and like it, but I do feel sorry for the one or two genuine owner occupiers who were becoming increasingly desperate while I lived there. I guess they're even more desperate now, I see masses of Kew Riverside properties up for sale, nothing's shifting, and prices seem to be steadily falling. This is exactly the type of development that will halve in price over the next few years.

#95 crouch

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Posted 04 November 2007 - 03:15 PM

Great thread!

I used to rent in Kew Riverside, a new build complex on the banks of the Thames. Prices ranged from about £450k for the smaller flats to £4m for the larger houses. The cracks are starting to show now, metaphorically and physically.

While I was resident there was a major plumbing leak on the top floor which affected about half of one block, and I heard that another block had had a similar incident. And don't forget this was within two or three years of completion in a luxury development with £1m+ selling prices.

We were right underneath the Heathrow flight path, so if you sat out on the balcony on a summer's evening you'd be deafened every few minutes as a plane landed. Then there was a big fall out with the management committee over non-payment of the £2k per year service charges, so the swimming pool was closed and cleaning staff were laid off, which in turn led to the grounds falling into disrepair.

Best of all, the planners only got permission to build by incorporating some local authority housing, so there's packs of feral yobs p1ssing in the flower beds and staging drag races in stolen cars. Most of the properties are owned by BTL landlords or companies for overseas staff, so they can take their lumps and like it, but I do feel sorry for the one or two genuine owner occupiers who were becoming increasingly desperate while I lived there. I guess they're even more desperate now, I see masses of Kew Riverside properties up for sale, nothing's shifting, and prices seem to be steadily falling. This is exactly the type of development that will halve in price over the next few years.


I want to sell my three bedroom detached in Warwicks (built 50 years ago and good quality) and move South (Sussex, Dorset, Devon) and buy a flat for around £200K (would never buy a newbuild). Looking through Rightmove the amount of rubbish up for sale is abolutely amazing - price as well as quality. I'm seriously thinking of buying a small house rather than a flat; you really have to search for anything that's a reasonable price and quality. Really quite depressing.

#96 laurejon

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Posted 04 November 2007 - 03:54 PM

Is it true that in the show houses the furniture is fake or somehow reduced in size from normal furniture to make the illusion of the room being bigger than it really is?


Yes it is true, and that Roast Dinner on the table, and the loaf of bread in the kitchen is also not real, I know this because I veiwed a property at 8:00am as I was due to start work at 9am, there is now way the girl got up at five to cook a 50lb turkey and it was ready by 8am.

Edited by laurejon, 04 November 2007 - 03:55 PM.


#97 Fuchsia

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Posted 04 November 2007 - 03:55 PM

I recently looked around a newbuild flat. When we left the place, I tried to open the door and the door handle came off in my hand (this was before I'd even pulled on it).

The girl from the estate agent just laughed, and said "of course, that'll be fixed before you move in!"

I don't know how she could realistically expect me to be interested in somewhere where things were falling apart before they'd even been used. :blink:

I looked around another house (not a new build, but refurbished in new-build style) where the kitchen had been put in over the boiler, so that all the counters would have to be ripped out before it could be serviced, the skirting boards were falling off because they were just propped up, and "new floorboards" had been put in - judging from the moving lumps under the carpet, "new floorboards" probably meant thin sheets of mdf or cardboard chucked down without any fixing. The "developer" had the cheek to put these on sale for £3k more than comparable houses in the same road in much better repair, and with far nicer, albeit slightly older, decor.

#98 silver surfer

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Posted 04 November 2007 - 04:35 PM

you really have to search for anything that's a reasonable price and quality. Really quite depressing.


Crouch, you've put your finger right on the key issue. During a boom everyone's so desperate to trade up or get on the ladder that they lose sight of the fact that a large percentage, perhaps even the majority, of UK housing is blighted in some way. When the slump comes we all become much more discriminating and suddenly realise that many properties, and this applies within every price band, just aren't worth owning at any price.

One simple example. Everyone talks about a garden being the most important "room in the house". I'd tend to agree, sitting outside on a summer's evening is one of the best moment's of the day. But you need a garden that faces south or west. So at a stroke that rules out the 50% of British houses where the garden faces north or east.

During boom times we regard a south facing garden as a "nice to have", as prices fall and we all get more selective we won't even look at a house with a north facing garden unless it's had tens of thousands of pounds sliced off the price so that it's priced alongside properties in the next bracket down.

And we suddenly discover what we've known all along, badly built extensions, undersized garages, outdated plumbing and wiring, cramped or gloomy rooms, mismatched bedrooms and bathrooms, badly dimensioned kitchens, lack of off-street parking, no access to public transport or local amenities, the slightest evidence of subsidence or damp, etc etc, any one of these means you'll just look somewhere else.

#99 bdon

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Posted 04 November 2007 - 04:49 PM

Excellent post.

Very true.



Agree. New builds are already being filled with DSS - they are the poor build quality modern equivalents of all the nasty tower blocks. they won't last. They're expensive (to buy and for tax-payers to subsidize). The number of adverts in newspapers by the developers has increased hugely - all lovely stylized photographs of "happy people". Exactly like last crash when Barratt helicopter was whizzing around on the telly.

#100 Sinking Feeling

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Posted 04 November 2007 - 05:26 PM

CHRIS BROGAN is director of property firm Sell Quick. He owns several hundred properties but steers clear of new builds, having lost money on apartments he bought off-plan in 2003

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He owns "several hundred properties"? Has he lost count?
People take part in the ups and downs of popular feeling not only as entrepreneurs but also as savers and consumers. In the boom they confidently put their savings in the illiquid form of securities and mortgages while in the depression they hold them mistrustfully on demand deposit at the banks. It is of special significance that the bankers themselves are also subject to the psychological ebb and flow. So it is that in the boom, infected by the general ardent optimism, they loosen the reins of their credit policy, sift less strictly the demands for credit, look less fastidiously at collateral, overestimate the productivity of the credits they grant and are satisfied with less liquidity. In the depression the memory of the sins of the boom, and the " frozen credits " with which they atone for these sins, cause the banks to fix the most extreme requirements for their liquidity and to subordinate to this all other considerations.

Wilhelm Ropke 1931

In the summer of 1931 a Labour Government suddenly sagged at its knees and fell dead. High Finance had killed it as High Finance will kill the next Labour Government, and the next again............

Excerpt from The Financiers and the Nation, Thomas Johnston, 1934





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