Firms look to a brighter future
of Miller Homes Scotland West, also believes MI New Home is beginning to make an impact: “Public awareness is growing and we are finding more and more people asking how it works. To date the limited availability of lenders offering this product has been an issue, but Halifax should have a product shortly and the recent rate decrease from Nationwide makes the scheme more attractive to purchasers.”
Taylor Wimpey and Miller Homes plan to introduce several developments in the coming year, which will widen the choice of homes. Taylor Wimpey’s includes Dargavel Village in Bishopton and a development at Redding Wood in Falkirk.
Housebuilders are also striving to make them more desirable. For Miller Homes, flexibility is the buzzword for 2013. “Not only are individual homeowners’ requirements different, they also change with time,” says Gaffney. “The ability of a home to evolve accordingly is critical. For example, a spare room can go from being a nursery to a family room and then a study as the family grows up.”
Taylor Wimpey continuously reviews its Scottish house designs to ensure homes reflect the latest planning guidance and thinking.
Ross adds: “Every home in our Scottish portfolio is designed to be able to offer a more practical and considered living environment universally accessible to a wide range of consumers, with each new style able to deliver an improved layout that maximises everyday living for all.”
This includes level entrance access, turning circles and approved “activity” spaces where appropriate, space for a downstairs shower if required, an area at the bottom of every staircase for a stairlift if necessary, wider door widths, and a ground-floor room capable of being turned into a bedroom should the need arise.
New-build houses have another major advantage over existing stock in that they are energy efficient and have achieved huge reductions in carbon emissions since 1990.
“Insulation levels are much greater than they have ever been and there is a higher awareness of energy wastage,” says Gaffney. “From boilers to kitchen appliances, customers want to know they are buying energy-efficient equipment that won’t be costing them unnecessary money or causing harm to the planet.”
Taylor Wimpey’s latest specification improves the overall thermal envelope of its new homes in order to make them more airtight to reduce heat loss.
“We also give consideration to the aspect and orientation of plots when designing developments in order to maximise solar gain,” says Ross. Buyers can also expect improved loft, wall and floor insulation, windows incorporating argon-filled glazing and warm-edge-spacer technology, and entrance doors with improved thermal properties.
Housebuilders have also embraced the Scottish Government’s “good street design” policy when planning developments to ensure the environment has character, areas for social interaction and play, gives priority to foot and cycle paths and is aesthetically pleasing, with trees, landscaping and street furniture.
Taylor Wimpey’s Dargavel Village in Bishopton, part of a multimillion-pound regeneration in which facilities for a new community will be delivered alongside a range of homes by various developers, is the first opportunity for the housebuilder to embrace the policy.