Richard Carr looks at the first smart housing development in the UK

The future is here, at least in terms of houses that do everything for you. Just like we were promised decades ago, houses in 2018 can use technology to take the hassle out of every day life for their owners.

Although most people are aware of smart technology used to control appliances from a smartphone app, or speaking assistants like Alexa and Siri, every day smart homes can seem a far away prospect. While we can assume that millionaires may use technology in ever-increasingly sophisticated ways in their homes, what about the more ordinary houses?

Latest technology

This is where Sommar Place comes in. The housing development in Milton Keynes looks very ordinary, and that’s the point. The houses are normal, every-day houses, but utilise smart technology as standard.

So, this isn’t a dream home for the future, it’s a home for now. They’re not for the superrich, but affordable homes for expanding families. Using this kind of interconnected technology will very soon be expected as standard for new developments.

Scandinavian design

richard carr TrivselhusThe 39 houses were developed by Swedish builder Trivselhus, using Scandinavian energy efficient design along with the most up tod ate smart home tech by Apple.

The system is fully interconnected throughout each property and is both easy to use and fully customisable. People who live in these houses can programme their home to do everything they want. For example, it’s possible to instruct the house to put the kettle on in the morning, programme the lights to come on at a specific time, or warm the towel rails in the bathroom as you’re waking up.

Automated from outside

Residents can also automate the house when they’re out, based on when they’re due to come back. For example, setting a customised programme named ‘coming home’ would make sure the lights come on, the heating is at the correct temperature and music is playing as they arrive home.

An Apple watch and an iPad come with the house, and residents can instruct their house using Siri, as well as Apple TV and HomePod.

What about privacy?

These days, many people are worried about the impact of interconnected technology on their privacy. This system uses end-to-end encrypted security to ensure that whatever residents do remains behind their closed door.

Previously only available in multi-million-pound bespoke homes for the very wealthy, this is the first time integrated smart tech has been used in affordable homes from the outset. While it’s possible to retrofit any home, this development is paving the way for technology to become standard in new developments.

Ken Forster is the MD of Tivselhus. He said: It’s our mission at Trivselhus to develop family homes that have a positive impact on how people live. Technology is essential in easing people’s lives, so it is important that moving forward family homes are designed with smart home technology at their fore.”

Ecological credentials

Any home of the future built in 2018 also has to consider the environment. Technology is not enough to make it cutting-edge, and these houses are built to sustain extreme climate change due to something called Climate Shield.

This is a mineral wool insulation system that, along with air tightness incorporated into the closed panel timber frame walls, ensures a level of protection that will last into the future. Added to this impressive manufacturing, the houses can be assembled in just one day.

Manual control is also possible, as technology can always go wrong. Day to day, the technology will seamlessly, efficiently and unobtrusively make life easier. This kind of development will one day be standard, and it’s exciting to see it take shape in real terms for people looking for an affordable and future-proof property.

– Richard Carr

How can we fix the UK’s housing problem?

One of the biggest news stories from this year’s Autumn Budget, announced by the UK Chancellor Philip Hammond earlier this month, was that first-time buyers are going to be given a leg up on to the housing ladder through a major change to the rules on stamp duty. The Chancellor announced that the Government will abolish stamp duty on homes under £300,000 – a move that could have a huge impact on many people who are trying to purchase their first home. Continue reading

The rise and rise of private rentals

We’re living through a time of huge cultural shifts, including in the property industry. Within a few short years, there has been such a rise in the number of private renters that mortgaged home owners will soon be in the minority.

Experts predict that by 2025, just seven short years away, the number of households owned by mortgage holders will be under six million. At the same time, the number if households living in private rented accommodation will be slightly higher, at six million. Continue reading

London Developer to Offer Affordable London Office Space

Richard Carr reviews a new development project, which will look to offer affordable office space in the UK’s most prosperous city.

High office space demand

Richard Carr discusses London Office Space

Does London have affordable office space?

London is the UK’s economic heart with its lucrative finance and technology industries. Figures show that London is one of the largest city-economies in the world, with a gross domestic product (GDP) of £565bn, which is roughly 17% of total UK GDP. Many companies have a base in this prosperous city, making demand for London office space extremely high.

Strong demand has pushed average London office rents to new heights. Prices in premier London commercial locations can be particularly high. According to Business Zone, for instance, the West End has the highest office rental prices in the world, at an average of £100 per square. For many firms, especially smaller enterprises, office space in some parts of London is simply unaffordable.

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One in Five London Homes Worth At Least £1m

New figures suggest that one out of every five homes in the UK’s capital city of London is worth at least £1m, writes property developer Richard Carr.

Expensive housing market

Richard Carr's £1m London homes

London homes

London is the UK’s most populous and crowded city. People from around the world flock to London because it is the heart of the UK’s economy, as well as a premier global financial and technology hub. There is an increasingly strong demand for a dwindling supply of living spaces in London, meaning that its average house prices have experienced extraordinary growth in the past few years.

The latest index from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reports that the average London house price grew by 14.5% in the year to April 2016. The ONS has implemented a new formula to determine its average UK residential property values,  so the average London house price is actually lower for April (£470,000) than it was in March under the old system (£552,000). Despite this change, average London residential real estate values continue to hover around the half million mark.

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What could happen to the UK property market if Britain left the EU?

With the EU referendum taking headlines on a daily basis, property developer Richard Carr examines how leaving the EU would affect the UK’s property market.


Richard Carr image of Leeds

What will happen to the UK property market if Britain leaves the EU?

The problem with referendum’s like leaving the EU and events such as the general election, they create an element of uncertainty which generally has a negative effect upon the housing market. As was seen in the run-up to this year’s general election, with buyers and investors unsure on which policies would be introduced the market stalled somewhat until clarity was achieved.

Richard Carr expects a similar situation as the referendum draws closer, buyers and sellers will want to play safe until an outcome is reached.

Analysists are only able to forecast and predict what impact leaving the EU will have upon the property industry and a lot of it will come down to how the economy is impacted generally. However, a survey conducted by KPMG found that 66% of real estate experts felt that leaving the EU would have a negative impact on inbound cross-border investment.

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Super prime London property hit by Stamp Duty changes

Sales of super prime property in the capital decreased during the final stages of 2015 with critics pointing the finger at the rise in stamp duty implemented in late 2014, writes property specialist Richard Carr.

Higher fees

Richard Carr Central London image

Stamp duty has affected prime property in London

Sales of £10million plus homes in London supposedly fell by a third during the final few months of last year as increased transaction fees put buyers off.

Knight Frank, international real estate firm, saw super prime transactions fall by 16% during the same period that stamp duty increases were implemented. For example, under the increased stamp duty regulations the transaction tax on a £10million property rose to £1.1million from £700,000, which equates to an additional 4% on top of the sale price.

Further changes will be made to the system in Spring when a further three percentage point increase will be put in place for buy to let properties and second homes.

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