As the trend towards city centre living continues to grow among millennials, there has been a clear interest to help increase supply of housing within these areas.
A survey conducted by MRI software has shown that 66% of property professionals in the UK believe that former retail premises are the biggest untapped resource for new residential development. Additionally, 72% of those surveyed see retail to residential redevelopment sites are giving the British High street a new lease of life.
The move was welcomed by the Federation of Master Builders, whose chief executive Brian Berry said: “It is estimated that as many as 300,000 to 400,000 new homes alone could be created by making use of empty spaces above shops on our high streets.
In line with the findings of the survey, the government also announced that its Future High Streets Fund would invest £675 to look at repurposing “under-used retail and commercial areas” into residences. The recent budget also included other property market-related measure such as:
Abolishing stamp duty for first time buyers on properties up to £500,000
£1billion to support SME housebuilders
Help to Buy scheme extension
City centres such as Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester are already undergoing large commercial redevelopments. These cities have experienced significant growth in population, infrastructure spending and many companies are moving from London to these areas. The Northern Powerhouse scheme has catalysed this movement, with over £400m worth of funding from the UK Government and Investment Funds being poured into large cities across the North West. As a result of this investment, the economy of the North is forecasted to increase from £300 billion to £356 billion.