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Stephen O'Brien interview with Housebuilder Spring 2017

Stephen O’Brien, recently interviewed by Housebuilder Magazine for his views from the property development finance perspective on the current market, focuses on the theme of segmentation in the market.

“If it is the right segment of the market things are looking OK. Certain parts I’d describe as more challenging. The upper end of the market over £2million where there are stamp duty changes or overseas buyers – they’re adjusting to the current environment. But, the adjustment in sterling has assisted a bit. Regional markets in which Wolsey mainly operates are fairing considerably better – where there is local housing for local needs.”

Since the EU referendum high street lending of development finance for housebuilders has continued to constrict, with banks agonising over market demand for schemes and their affordability. “I would say that for SMEs it continues to be a tougher environment. That’s where specialist residential development funders like ourselves come in who are comfortable with risk.”

Advice to housebuilders is to plan new homes that are Help to Buy eligible. “There is strong demand for Help to Buy product. It’s a very good initiative. The government sees housing as an important factor for the economy and social mobility. The nearer we get to its expiry date the more we need clear advice on its future.” Certainly as lenders of property development finance for housebuilders Wolsey is very supportive of the Help to Buy initiative.

Taken from interview with Housebuilder Magazine, Spring 2017