Over the past 40-plus years Pennyfarthing Homes has gone from strength-to-strength, winning a multitude of awards for industry excellence in the process. It’s already impressive collection was added to last year when the company won a further three accolades.
Pennyfarthing Homes’ Alexandra Meadows scheme was named winner of Residential Development in Hampshire in the UK Property Awards 2018/19, while in the Premier Excellence Awards 2018, the same scheme was named Low Rise Residential Development of the Year in the South as well as the national award for Site Manager of the Year.
The treble award-winning success of the Alexandra Meadows development in Lymington is one of the first volume schemes Pennyfarthing Homes has taken on with the use of standard house types, with 87 new homes comprising of 11 house types including bungalows and Starter Homes plus the first ever Sustainable Alternative Natural Green space (SANG land) in the New Forest. This SANG land is offered to the residents of the development and the general public for recreational use, such as dog walking and picnics, and forms a large part of the company’s ecological obligations on the scheme.
While the Alexandra Meadows development was Pennyfarthing Homes’ first foray into volume building, it certainly didn’t prove to be a stretch for the company, as the award recognition underlines. This was thanks to the considerable experience the company has gained over the years. This knowledge and expertise allow the company to offer a wide range of new homes in Hampshire, Dorset and Wiltshire; from luxury five-bedroom detached houses to three-bedroom apartments and two-bedroom Starter Homes, available to first time buyers living within the New Forest District Council area at 20% below market value.
In tandem with Pennyfarthing Homes’ expansion over the past three years, its customer base has grown with it and it now offers products and services to the following segments in the housing market:
- Empty nesters – over-55s looking to downsize without the compromise of living space and locality. These consumers are usually drawn to Pennyfarthing Homes’ apartments or bungalows in idealistic locations such as Lymington.
- First time buyers – targeted at the Starter Home market, these purchasers are those looking to get onto the property ladder. The Starter Home Scheme is particularly appealing for this segment due to the 20% discount on market value.
- Growing families – with Pennyfarthing Homes’ house types expanding to meet the needs and wants of the housing market, its products now incorporate three, four and five-bedroom terraced, semi-detached and detached houses with generous gardens, driveways and garages. The majority of these new homes are available to purchase through the Help to Buy Scheme with a 5% deposit making them affordable to the mass market.
- Second home buyers – Pennyfarthing Homes is finding home buyers usually come out of the Home Counties for their second home on the coast or in the New Forest. The new homes that tend to be bought are the higher specification luxury new homes that are the perfect ‘lock up and leave’ for those wanting to escape busy city life.
Although consumers and competitors may be fearful of an uncertain political backdrop, the South of England, particularly the New Forest and coastal towns, is living and working in a micro-climate within the housing market. This is allowing Pennyfarthing Homes’ to achieve continual growth, with sales targets doubled from 2017/18 to 2018/19.
That said, an element of buyer hesitancy remains present within certain consumer groups that have concerns on the possible impact on mortgages and interest rates. “We can see this especially affecting the resale market, as our customers are waiting for an extended period of time before achieving a sale on their own property to proceed with their new Pennyfarthing home,” explains Matt Dukes, Managing Director. “Although consumers and property market experts are skeptical about the housing market in light of the current political landscape, we’re seeing that in the areas we build, the average asking prices are still on the up.
“Some areas, such as the coastal town of Lymington, have seen an exponential growth in house prices over the last ten years and this is set to continue. However, we will not know the outcome and impact of certain current affairs on the housing market until the latter part of 2020, when the regional and national statistics begin to show new trends throughout the UK.
“One of the challenges we’re currently facing is the decline of the resale market. We’re looking to overcome this by introducing various incentives to aid the selling process. For example, part exchanging a buyer’s existing home for a new property, providing help with their move and legal fees, contributing to stamp duty and even paying for carpets, curtains and light fittings in our Interior Package incentive.
“Another challenge has been the doubling of units we produced in 2018/19 compared to 2017/18. As we edge ever closer to medium builder status, we’re expanding our departments with the appointment of highly qualified and industry recognised people to join our team of over 70 employees and make this transition smooth and in keeping with our high quality standards.”
“In terms of what sets us apart from our competitors, despite the growth we’ve enjoyed we remain very much a family business with strong traditional values at our core. Having an in-depth understanding of our customers, what they care about and how they look for information is another key differentiator between ourselves and the marketplace.Matt Dukes, Managing Director
With all of the above in mind, Pennyfarthing Homes are still selling new homes at a steady pace with the 2019/20 sales targets in sight and achievable.
“Marketing trends also paint a positive picture, with people showing more interest in the new-build homes sector, as modern properties provide improved energy efficiency,” adds Mr Dukes. “This was supported by the Home Builders Federation’s claim in 2017 that occupiers of new-build homes can save £629 a year by being more energy efficient.
“People are also becoming more informed and aware of the opportunities to buy through new-build initiatives and schemes, such as the Help to Buy Scheme and local authority Starter Home Initiative. Many other factors play an important part in the decision-making process of home buyers, but as prices across all industries increase year-on-year, value for money is now the absolute key to a sale.
“This value for money can no longer be just a competitive price either, people are looking for intangible benefits that come with a new home. A smooth stress-free sales process and an attentive customer care team are just some of the vital elements.”
While there are undoubtedly opportunities to be had within the marketplace, making the most of this potential can be easier said than done. Thankfully Pennyfarthing Homes’ qualities and experience are enabling it to capitalise.
“In terms of what sets us apart from our competitors, despite the growth we’ve enjoyed we remain very much a family business with strong traditional values at our core. Having an in-depth understanding of our customers, what they care about and how they look for information is another key differentiator between ourselves and the marketplace. We also pride ourselves on our service, with 97% of our customers saying they would purchase through us again based on our two-year customer care warranty period plus our Investors in People status that we are proud to have achieved every year since 2006.
“We are also working on various initiatives across our developments that are innovative and pioneering in the construction and new home sector, such as our Clean Air Initiative at Augustus Park in Fordingbridge. The objective is to improve the local air quality by reducing the number of single occupancy car journeys to and from the site, in line with the Department of Environment’s 2019 national targets.”
As it looks to build on an award-laden 2018, Pennyfarthing Homes is keen to make the year ahead just as successful. “Our vision is to be the regional developer of choice that is better in all aspects than our competitors, providing high quality, defect-free homes for the enjoyment of our customers,” concludes Mr Dukes. “As per our logo, our mission statement is ‘Builders of Quality Homes’, built to one of five specification levels. Central to maintaining these objectives will be the further development of our workforce to encourage a culture of continual improvement and involvement for our people and identifying opportunities both for them and future generations.
“We’re also striving to become virtually self-sufficient in the supply of land through strategic sites and allocations to support increased sales of approximately 200 homes per annum from all tenures.”
Given this forward-thinking approach and its absolute refusal to rest on its laurels, Pennyfarthing Homes looks well placed to continue adding to its already impressive reputation. Further award recognition certainly can’t be ruled out either.