JLL: Land deals suggest growing confidence

Simon Donohue

The number of new homes that could be built on land acquired for development during the first half of 2013 has already eclipsed the total recorded for the whole of 2012, according to Jones Lang LaSalle.

Land in the North West capable of delivering 5,500 homes was acquired by developers in the six months to June 2013 against a figure of 2,500 homes in the same period in 2012.

JLL says that 46 land acquisition deals were completed in the first half of 2013, 20 more than the 26 completed in the first half of 2012.

Sites acquired stretch from Crewe to Lytham St Anns, covering more than 370. At the same point in 2012 just 170 acres had been transacted.

In the whole of 2012 there were 51 land deals in the North West, providing in the region of 4,700 plots for new homes.

Kieran McLaughlin, a national director with JLL's residential team in Manchester, said: "While the market began to thaw in 2012, in 2013 the recovery in house building looks to be well underway.

"Driving this confidence has been a significant uplift in mortgage approvals – 25% since January – the re-emergence of 95% mortgages from providers like Halifax, and of course, major government schemes such as Help to Buy.

"This turnaround in market confidence is then coupled with the robust trading positions of the major volume house builders to create a potent cocktail for growth; the share prices of the main PLCs have increased by 50% on average since the start of the year.

"The uplift in transaction activity in the region has been prolific over the first six months of 2013 and is a definite sign that the housing market's resurgence is not just a southern phenomenon."

Key transactions led by the Jones Lang LaSalle team include some of the biggest recorded in 2013 so far:

  • Taylor Wimpey's acquisition of Bickershaw Colliery in Leigh, with space for 475 units – the North West's biggest deal of the year to date
  • Taylor Wimpey's purchase of land at Farington Business Park, Leyland, for 220 new homes
  • Persimmon's deal at Redhouse Lane, Disley, for 120 units

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