Factor in the fears and pressures of wider economic implications of the pandemic, and it’s likely we’ll see fewer houses being built, at least in the short term.
That means local authorities will be eager for any project that could help them build more homes, and get closer to those targets.
And many will be open to strategic land projects if they help to get them there.
2) Where buyers are looking has changed
The lockdown brought with it remote working. Now people who could work from anywhere have realised just how do-able it actually is. Many won’t want to go back to the old commute now they’ve seen the alternative.
When people are no longer tied to an area for work (or at least not tied as tightly), that means demand in other areas could creep up, and with it the need for strategic land.
3) And what buyers are looking for has changed, too
One criticism of commuter-zone strategic land developments is that they’re often full of young professionals travelling into work every day. That means the development is mostly empty Monday to Friday, from 8am-6pm.
Now? With more people working from home, greater flexibility around working hours etc. these developments could feel drastically different. People were stuck in their houses for months, and as a result many have a renewed desire to be part of a community.
Instead of simply plonking more houses into already-overburdened communities, strategic land offers a way to start with something completely new.
Let’s not forget that the very reason people want to leave cities is to get access to more green space.
Strategic land can be seen not as trying to urbanise greenfield space, but as working with that green space – being more open, rather than cramming as many houses as possible, building communal gardens, cycle paths and the kind of spaces that people moving from the cramped cities actually want.
4) Environmental impact of building
One criticism of strategic land is often the environmental impact – after all, it often involves building on the green, leafy parts on the outside of town, so will it really be a good option to help achieve a ‘green recovery’?
There’s a real risk that there’ll be a lot of abandoned office space with so many people working from home in the future – wouldn’t it be better to tear these down and build houses on that space instead?
That means for people looking to shore up their accounts in the short term, it’s probably not going to be the right play.
But for those with a longterm plan, the ability to secure land in any future crash (whether that’s buying outright, getting an option or working with landowners on a joint venture), then selling again when prices are on the up, can mean big profits.
And even if the market remains pretty flat? The uplift from the planning permission alone is more than worth it.
The future will be different.
The only question is how different...
So it’s almost impossible to know what’s happening in property at the moment, let alone what will happen in the future.
And that’s to say nothing of the longterm social changes from lockdown. Where people want to live, where they plan to work… everything is up for change in a way it’s perhaps never been before.
Some things may stay the same. Young people are likely to still want to be near the hustle and bustle of a city, for instance. But then, when they’re thinking about starting a family, their options might not be as limited as before.
That could mean big opportunities in strategic land in the not-so-distant future.
If you take the gamble and get it right, there’s a lot of money to be made.
Interested in getting started with a strategic land deal of your own?
Calum is a Sales Manager for LandInsight. He is the proud owner of Malcolm, the lovable cockapoo (half Cocker Spaniel, half Poodle) who you may hear in the background every once in a while if you call the office. Malcolm, that is, not Calum.