Viewpoint - 25/10/2021

Shifting Views

Read insight from our 2021 Residential Development Survey focussing in on the impact of the pandemic and rising importance of sustainability.

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The Covid-19 pandemic has shifted the focus of many, allowing time to re-evaluate the places we live, work and play, with Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) considerations and the desire to maximise wellbeing taking centre stage.

Click here to download a copy of our 2021 Residential Development Survey Findings


Respondents have recognised that the pandemic and accompanying enforced lockdowns, whilst hopefully not to be repeated, has resulted in changing demands from house buyers; namely, a pandemic-fuelled shift in more people currently living in a city looking for property outside of that city.

Survey responses mirror the conversations that we have been having with developers. People have reevaluated where they want to buy and live, looking for more indoor and outdoor space. There is a shift in demand as buyers strive to get more ‘bang for their buck’ thanks to flexible working patterns enabling remote working.

Only time will tell if this shift in demand will lead to a new direction in design and layout in the long term. However, we are seeing increasing activity from investors and developers in our regional cities, looking at the delivery of Build-to-Rent properties.

72% Covid-19 pandemic has changed housing demands

“Covid could really affect the London housing market and then all the foreign investors may back off.”


Sustainability is a widely encompassing concept the planning system has traditionally provided broad aspirations for but with few definitive targets. We believe it is important to look beyond simple carbon and energy targets, and consider where and how we live, in order to most effectively deliver living environments that meet our current needs whilst meeting sustainability targets. This is reflected in other aspects of our survey results:

  • 77% think it is important to build long-term resilience into infrastructure, including sustainable transport;
  • 71% think sustainable technology is important. 

Notably, this must be a collaborative approach, which feeds into wider needs to address ESG issues. It will be interesting to see how previously mentioned habits accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic, such as home working, reduced car usage, and local shopping may become permanent fixtures of a more sustainable lifestyle. The challenge for the Planning and Building Regulations systems will be how to promote innovation, and best plan for sustainable places and lifestyles, without causing undue delay and burden in the applications process.

71% Sustainable technology is important to our customers

“House buyers are increasingly seeking to ensure homes are better equipped with sustainable technology to minimise waste, emissions and energy to address the climate crisis.”

70% Sustainable homes are ever more important to our business

“Modern methods of construction are key but quality and sustainability must be hard baked into it.”

Click here to download a copy of our 2021 Residential Development Survey Findings.

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