2,200 Homes Coming to the South West
Acorn Property Group is on a £390 million (GDV) residential development drive with new sites purchased throughout the South West which will provide 821 homes. This is in addition to further schemes going through the planning process. This follows on from record-breaking sales completions of £158.85 million in 2021: up nearly 250% on the previous year. These new sites will bring Acorn’s pipeline up to £1.2 billion providing 2,200 open market and affordable homes.
Part of the £390 million (GDV) development drive are Acorn’s two latest acquisitions in Wiltshire that will deliver homes with a combined completed value of some £30 million (GDV). One site in the village of Urchfont has planning permission for 13 new homes; the second, a site on the edge of the Cotswolds village of Sherston will, subject to planning, see Acorn build up to 45 detached homes plus a new doctors’ surgery, and the potential to extend the local school.
Acorn’s existing South West development pipeline of residential-led developments coming to market in the next 12-18 months includes schemes in Exmouth, Exeter, Barnstaple, Bruton, Chillington, Frome and Wedmore. The projects range in size from 17 units to over 200 units. This summer Acorn will be launching Rolle Gardens in Exmouth and St Leonards Quarter in Exeter.
Acorn also has a wide range of further sites in the South West at various stages of the planning process including sites in Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Bristol and the Cotswolds, and are actively engaged in negotiations on further sites across South West and South Wales.
Acorn is undertaking this major development drive in 2022/23 as a result of record sales success and completions in 2021. Last year the company had a record £158.85 million of sales completions – 281 homes sold; up 267.6% on the 105 completions (£64.4 million) in 2020. The 2021 sales completion figure equates to an average of 23 completions per month, or over 5 a week. Helping to deliver this record performance were developments in Bath, Bristol, Frome, Bruton, Wedmore, Falmouth, St Austell, Poole, Porthcawl and the Vale of Glamorgan, together with London sites in Acton and Tower Bridge.
Acorn highlights that the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a “race for space” in the property market with buyers placing greater value on homes with outside space in suburban, rural and coastal locations where they can enjoy a healthy life and lifestyle. This has resulted in a major shift in buyers moving to homes in South West England that provide outside space, particularly houses with private gardens.
Acorn has a wide range of rural and coastal developments in the South West and South Wales, and has been able to help meet this huge increase in demand. Acorn’s Cornwall office Acorn Blue, based in Newquay, has seen unprecedented demand for seaside homes in Falmouth, where its scheme The Liner is now fully sold, and in Constantine Bay and Padstow where two schemes are already more than 90% forward sold off-plan.
The popularity of locations in Cornwall (Falmouth, St Austell, Constantine Bay, and Padstow) is equally strong in the neighbouring counties of Devon, Somerset and Wiltshire. Devon offers wonderful a coastline, Dartmoor National Park, Exmoor, open countryside and the university city of Exeter, while Somerset and Wiltshire offer many attractive villages and market towns, as well as the Mendip Hills, Somerset Levels, Bristol, Bath and the Cotswolds.
Broadcaster and entrepreneur Sarah Beeny’s latest project is located just outside Bruton where Acorn has just sold out at Phase 1 of its Cubis Bruton scheme and will shortly be launching Phase 2 – Longcroft at Cubis Bruton.
Melanie Omirou, Executive Group Managing Director at Acorn says: “2021 saw the launch of Acorn Green, our commitment to the implementation of the best possible design and technology to further drive down the carbon footprint of our homes: our scheme at Urchfont will move the dial for all Acorn development activity and is set to be an exemplar scheme. Acorn Green is a natural progression of our commitment to creating unique quality environmentally conscious developments and homes.”
Melanie Omirou adds: “Although both Brexit and COVID-19 have caused all businesses great difficulties over the last few years, we’ve achieved record sales completions in 2021. To help meet future demand we’ve been on a major residential site acquisition and development drive, with £390 million (GDV) of new schemes now in the pipeline providing 821 new homes. This is in addition to numerous other schemes in the pipeline, a number of which are already in the process of obtaining planning. We believe there has been a permanent change to the supply and demand balance throughout the South West. This, coupled with buyers’ demands for more environmentally responsible homes and our Acorn Green commitments drive our continuing plan to expand our business to meet home buyer’s needs”.
Melanie Omirou concludes: “COVID-19 has certainly brought strong buyer focus on the value of outside space, and we continue to see buyers seeking to secure homes in rural, coastal and suburban locations. Acorn has projects in urban locations such as London, Bristol and Exeter, and a strong pedigree for village, rural and coastal projects. Our ‘different by design’ ethos, which underpins the creation of all our schemes, has enabled us to capitalise on the rising demand for homes and locations that enable buyers to live and enjoy a healthy lifestyle.”