WALES: Dramatic rise in new build and building conversion planning applications predicted

Hughes Architects planning and design

Mid Wales architect, Doug Hughes, believes there will be a hike in new and renewed residential planning applications throughout Wales for new-build and converted properties over the coming months due to the lack of available housing stock for sale.

With a record hike in house prices due to the Stamp Duty and Land Transaction Tax holidays in England and Wales, combined with people wanting to move out of larger urban areas following the Covid-19 pandemic, the available housing stock for sale has diminished.

Rightmove reported a 2.1% increase in house prices in a month in April, breaking previous records. It said while the number of properties entering the market had levelled off to normal levels but was “massively outpaced by buyer demand.”

Mr Hughes, Managing Director and Principal Architect at planning and architectural practice, Hughes Architects, said it has resulted in homeowners looking to either extend and remodel their homes, or consider building new ones or converting buildings.

A need to convert, extend or build from scratch

He said: “Many people are looking at alternatives for new or larger homes due to the lack of stock on the housing market. This means either enlarging their existing home if they can or finding a plot to build a new one on.

“In many cases, particularly in Powys and Ceredigion, demand for redundant barns or buildings that can be converted has also risen. Many landowners with such buildings are considering seeking planning applications for conversion before selling it on.

“We’ve seen new build properties placed on the market in recent weeks just snapped up in days in north Powys.”

He said he was working a number of property developers who are in the process of preparing planning applications for new developments, including in central Powys, such as areas around Knighton and Presteigne, on the border with Herefordshire.

These include completion of seven Passivhaus homes near Newtown, 36 on site at Presteigne and planning about to be sought for 32 apartments in Newtown.

Pandemic reinforced a need for a good work-life balance

Doug, whose practice has offices at Newtown and Welshpool in Powys and Aberystwyth in Ceredigion, added: “Throughout the pandemic, and so far this year, we’ve had a continual pipeline of enquiries and work based on extending and remodelling homes. This is principally down to people wanting more space because they were working and living at home and wanted to balance work and personal life.

“However, there has been a rise in people wanting to move out of larger urban areas and cities and into rural or less densely populated areas where they can access space and the countryside.”

He said: “This has placed more demand on the existing housing market, particularly in Mid Wales.

Increased enquiries for building and barn conversions

“Enquiries and work for building conversions, from older buildings to barns, has jumped in this time and we don’t envisage it dropping due to the sheer demand from people who are changing their work-life balance as a result of the pandemic.”

More details about the building design and planning services provided by Hughes Architects can be found at, email or telephone 01686 610311.

Hughes Architects has offices at Newtown, Welshpool and Aberystwyth, covering Powys, Shropshire, Ceredigion, Herefordshire and throughout Wales.

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