20 years ago, we were all encouraged to become property developers on tv programmes by the likes of Sarah Beeny and Martin Roberts on “Property Ladder” and “Homes under the Hammer”, which always seemed to be set in Stoke?

Since then, I think the high yields of property developing have evaporated.

As Farrell Walton estate agents, we sold an original 1920s bungalow with sunken bath three  years ago for £240,ooo locally and a year later it was back on the market, after an extensive makeover, for twice the amount. It didn’t sell though.

I’m connected on LinkedIn with professionals who make a living from sourcing properties and selling them on, and with developers who renovate wrecks and turn a tidy profit.

It seems though that it’s becoming more difficult according to reports I’ve read, because:

  • Capital for deposits is harder to raise with stricter lending criteria
  • Land has become expensive
  • Developers are sometimes seen as unethical – aiming to make as much money as possible for as little outlay (isn’t that what we all want to do though in life, providing there’s job satisfaction?)

There is though an attempt to change the perception of property developers in New York, of all places, where a Masters degree is being offered with the focus on making property developers more focused on the community, which seems appropriate given that the President made his wealth from property development.

You can read more here.

American property developers are also heading to Croydon, but the teachings about community seem to be being roundly ignored according to this report. Housing is turned into a commodity, not a home, within this model, with housing stock developed not for ownership but for buy to let landlords. This is perhaps inevitable given that capital and land is difficult to source – but it does seem to negate the aim of that Masters degree.

What do you think of property development in the UK?

Given that renters outweigh homeowners, should Greystarand the Blackstone group be welcomed to Croydon and elsewhere to assuage the housing crisis?