‘Seventy-five percent of us would never buy a new build home,’ says Inhabit Homes MD, Gus Zogolovitch. ‘I think that’s partly because we don’t want the mass-produced product built by the volume house-builders. You can see with the advent of farmer’s markets and craft beers that society is changing and we now seek choice, quality and good value. Our homes are the most expensive thing we ever buy, yet how many of us get to choose how our homes are laid out, what floor finish we have and how much we want to spend on a new kitchen.
‘The cost of new homes can be brought down in one of only a few ways,’ continues Zogolovitch, ‘by making homes smaller or building cheaper. But this tends to bring the quality down. With custom build, we put less in and let the owner do it.’
He claims that he can deliver savings of up to 30% by letting the customer buy the land and the home separately and then letting them source and fit out the homes themselves. Since the customer buys the land, the stamp duty is significantly lower than when buying a new build home, saving thousands of pounds.
Zogolovitch compares it to shopping at Ikea, where prices are lower because we have to pick up and assemble the flat-pack furniture ourselves. Inhabit is using the same model by building only the basic shell of the home.
‘We’ve all seen Grand Designs and seen how new builds can go wrong,’ he says. ‘I’ve got first-hand experience of this when I built my own house. With Inhabit, I wanted to take away a lot of the pain but keep all of the fun bits. So we handle all the difficult and risky parts like buying the plot, getting planning, dealing with building regulations and utility providers and instructing the entire professional team. The purchaser then gets a watertight structural shell ready for them to fit out exactly the way they want to.’
Blenheim Grove is Inhabit Homes’ first development. There are three ways a customer can become involved: a) purchase the land and instruct Inhabit Homes to build the shell; b) purchase a shell; c) purchase a customised completed home. The earlier a customer enters into a contract, the greater the stamp duty savings and the more options are available during the custom build process. The shells are set to complete in spring 2016 and range in size from 992 sq ft to 1,837 sq ft.
Property of the month
This architect-designed four bedroom house on Heathway SE3, approaching Blackheath Standard, has a 21st century finish with great attention to detail, yet retains a homely charm. The accommodation spans two levels, light streams in from everywhere and there is generous entertaining space both inside and out. The kitchen/dining hub at the centre of the property features a range of integrated appliances including a Siemens plate warmer, electric oven and microwave combi-oven. Other features include two reception rooms, a large patio, two contemporary bathrooms, a pantry, utility room and parking for two cars. On the market for £1.65m with JLL, Blackheath, on 020 8712 6703.
3 postcodes to keep an eye on
1 Kidbrooke SE3
Kidbrooke Village by Berkeley is starting to flourish, according to Charlotte Russell, Assistant Manager (lettings) of JLL’s Greenwich office. ‘The fantastic facilities, which include a gym, swimming pool, and concierge service, are a first for a development in SE3, as well as great transport links. With further expansion of this development, we are sure that the popularity here will continue to rise.’
2 Camberwell SE5
Camberwell Green is currently undergoing an overhaul to create new landscaped gardens, tree-lined avenues, a market square and play area. The works, due to be completed by spring next year, are part of Revitalise5 Camberwell, a £13million regeneration project. Take full advantage of this by buying into Camberwell on the Green, a development overlooking the green by Frasers Property. The 92 studio, one, two and three bed apartments will feature bronze metal panelling, grey brickwork, balconies and rooftop terraces. Apartments, from £405,000, are on the market with Marsh & Parsons on 020 7368 4830.
3 Catford SE6
You will get more for your money in Catford than in the neighbouring areas of Forest Hill, Hither Green and Ladywell. Culverley Green conservation area has avenues of large Victorian semis, the Corbett Estate has double-fronted terraces, and on Perry Hill you’ll find more smaller 1930s Victorian terraces heading out towards Honor Oak and Ladywell. The average prices in Catford are £236,020 for a one-bedroom home, £322,853 for a two-bed, £438,267 for a three-bed and £566,304 for a four-bedroom house (source: zoopla.co.uk).