'High demand' for private homes built under South Tyneside Council project Centaurea Homes
A council project using an external housing company to develop homes for sale has been deemed a success, with high demand from prospective buyers.
The company was set up by the local authority to identify sites that bigger house builders had shunned and to develop homes for private sale.
This aimed to both boost the borough’s housing stock and turn a profit – with cash reinvested back into the council’s corporate priorities.
Centaurea Homes’ first development ‘Langdale Grange’ offers homes in a mix of two, three and four-bedroom styles, with sales prices ranging between around £149,000 and £255,000.
According to a presentation given to the council’s Housing Performance Panel on July 28, homes are being snapped up.
As of June 2021, a total of 14 properties have already been sold with contracts exchanged and 31 properties have been reserved.
The presentation added that the sales team for the estate had already exceeded its targets and that the new homes were being promoted on social media and via a dedicated website.
Councillor Jim Foreman, cabinet member for housing and transport, praised the professionalism of the sales team and the development as a whole.
He told the meeting: “To have neighbours who are in bungalows, it’s as if it’s a small community, a community on its own.
“I think that is a major plus because it gives that opportunity for people to meet each other and to form their own community.”
Due to the success of the initial pilot scheme in Jarrow, more sites are set to be earmarked across South Tyneside for development through Centaurea Homes.
Earlier in March 2021, South Tyneside Council’s ruling cabinet agreed to a five-year housing strategy which included the principle of developing around 200 new homes through the housing company, subject to individual sites being identified and appraised.
Lessons learned from the Langdale Grange development could also see future estates offering additional house types and Help to Buy support.
Peter Mennell, head of regeneration and housing on the council, said any further transfer of land to Centaurea Homes to develop specific sites would require a report to cabinet.
“We have to prove best value to the council,” he told the Housing Performance Panel.
“Again that principle has always been that actually the council gets value for the land receipt and then potentially gets the dividends back from the company from the profits that they make.”
He added: “The council can then reinvest [this] in its own corporate priorities that the council sets in the Medium Term Financial Plan.”
For more information on Centaurea Homes, visit: www.centaureahomes.co.uk