The London Development Panel speeds public land to private development.
Land investors and homebuilders are robust participants in urban development. The LDP helps them to revitalise neighbourhoods more quickly.
Because of the impactful housing shortage in the UK, the Government has adopted a scheme to speed the sale and development of underused, publicly owned land to private investors, who will then build much-needed homes. The London Development Panel (LDP) exists solely to expedite the procurement process.
To the land planning and investment community, this is a useful tool. After all, time is money to just about everyone, not the least of which include those who work in joint venture land investment.
In England, there are an estimated 7,500 hectares of publicly owned land that is suitable for housing but is currently vacant or under-used. Under the Department for Communities and Local Government, the “Community Right to Reclaim Land” policy allows individuals, organizations and businesses to petition for such land conversions. The LDP maintains a framework agreement between developers and public landowners, fostering a more efficient procurement process that spurs quicker delivery of homes.
The service delivery from the LDP covers the entire span from concept to sale or rental of properties. This includes:
• Raising capital
• Planning permission approvals
• Design, construction and supply chain management
• Design and construction of infrastructure
• Sales and marketing
• Aftercare and maintenance
In concert with other city-provided programmes (such as the Mayor’s Building the Pipeline fund of £136.5m to build 6,190 homes), these initiatives might be credited for attracting increased private investment activity in the housing sector. In early 2013, Prudential Property Investment Management announced an acquisition of 500 new rental homes – a return to the sector after a 30-year absence. Industry analysts say it was a wise move because of the increased share (20 per cent) of housing that is now in the to-let category. The number of renters is due to the tough mortgage-lending environment, leaving more working people off the housing ladder.
Real estate investment trusts (REITs) have begun to show promise on the exchanges, largely reflecting activity in the commercial sector, while a REIT for residential assets was first launched in 2013. Still, the largest asset growth is more likely found through limited joint venture land investment groups who focus on only a handful of developments at a time. Other investors such as in capital growth planning ventures are working with land specialists who convert raw land to housing by way of planning permissions.
With increased activity in the real estate sector, investors who are new to real asset investing are advised to speak with an independent personal financial advisor. The level of risk in real estate needs to be in appropriate proportion to the remainder of the investor’s entire portfolio.