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What will homebuyers want next? Data can give developers some clues…

Thursday 18 January 2018 Catchment AnalysisData Insight & AnalyticsDemographic Data

Dan Parr's picture
By Dan Parr

Successful residential developers don’t just build identikit boxes – they anticipate demand and design the kind of homes real people actually want to live in. And at CACI, we’ve analysed the data to draw some conclusions about what that might look like.

In the last blog in our How We Live series, we explored how we combed CACI’s own population data, using information from the Institute for Social and Economic Research’s Understanding Society study, to segment the likely movers of the UK into different demographic groups. With these ‘Acorn groups in place, residential builders can identify target markets and attract buyers earlier in development – not just when the build is approaching completion.

But smart uses of data can go beyond how developers sell their properties – it can help them shape their offering from the earliest stages, too. Every individual mover is looking for something slightly different from their next home, but by analysing our data, we’ve identified statistical trends that indicate what appeals to different demographics.

Finding buyers’ common needs

It’s difficult to account for all the factors that affect a mover’s choice of home. The characteristics that land one of your properties on their shortlist are influenced by everything from basics like their income, location and family size, to more complex factors like their lifestyle.

Using our data, we’ve highlighted how demand for different types of tenure and the size of the ideal home varies around the UK – as well as some other, surprising features that attract buyers.

Property type and tenure

Of the 8.4 million potential movers in the next year, 49% are likely to be looking for private rentals. This demand for rental properties, unsurprisingly, peaks in central urban areas such as Manchester and London, where 49% of movers are seeking one-bedroom or studio flats (significantly higher than the UK average of 24%). In cities, then, the opportunity for residential builders lies in rental scheme developments and buy-to-let builds.

Demand for social housing peaks in areas like Scotland and the Midlands – therefore including a higher proportion of affordable and social housing in a development is likely to support developers in building both a solid business case and getting planning permission for their projects.

Building for different lifestyles

Finding the right balance of size, tenure and composition for a build is only the first step toward creating a development that your target demographic will buy into. These days, there’s a lot more nuance in what buyers want from their homes – it’s no longer just about four walls.

To find the smaller, more personal things your likely movers are looking for from their next home, you need to dig further into the data. Using our Acorn segmentation, we’ve used over 1.1 billion data points to see how factors like a person’s hobbies and retail habits can influence where they want to live.

For example, while high-speed internet is an increasingly high priority for all Acorn groups, it’s most important for Student Life and City Sophisticates – the groups that clock up the most internet usage.

However, unlike their older and family-oriented counterparts, such as Comfortable Seniors and Successful Suburbs, these groups are far less concerned about the ‘picket fence’ aspect of home buying. They’re mostly looking for low-maintenance plots – or even no garden at all.

A wise developer will also consider how the surrounding area will influence their potential build: proximity to gyms, restaurants and commuter links will likely appeal to younger working demographics, while families and retirees are much more likely to want to be close to amenities like parks and GP surgeries.

The next step in understanding your likely movers

Get your copy of our new How We Live: Uncovering Residential Demand e-magazine, for a more in-depth analysis of what likely movers want from their next home, with more data on tenure, home size, and which features are going to bring you the fastest return on investment.

You’ll also find a detailed breakdown of the Acorn groups, and insight into other factors that influence smart strategic development – who’s most likely to move, how much they can afford, and where to build next.

And if you have a more specific question, and want your development to benefit from CACI’s data expertise, just give us a call – we’re ready to help.

Further Information

If you want to hear more about how CACI's Property expertise can help you, get in contact now

Successful residential developers don’t just build identikit boxes – they anticipate demand and design the kind of homes real people actually want to live in. And at CACI, we’ve analysed the data to draw some conclusions about what that might look like.

What will homebuyers want next? Data can give developers some clues…