Vox Prop: What will life be like in a pounds 60,000 starter home?
Wednesday 02 February 2005
Nigel Favas, the managing director of Reeds Rains
"First time buyers' expectations are higher now than they were in the Fifties and Sixties, when central heating and garages were considered as extras. With the average property price in the north of England now at pounds 130,000, its obvious that pounds 60,000 won't buy much. Today's buyers want homes to surpass the standard of living they have been used to in their parents' properties."
Piers Gough, architect: "If the public were to give up their love affair with brick cladding and went just for the timber frame you would get more `bang for your buck', as the Americans do. The British could have cheaper houses and more space if they used modern construction materials because of the slowness and cost of building brick walls."
Tim Sargeant, the chief executive of City and Country Group, developers: "We are about to acquire a free-standing marketing suite without any of the bits and pieces necessary in a home and it is going to cost between pounds 40,000 and pounds 60,000. You'd need a factory product on a massive scale, dressed to look decent. The idea might work if the Government really showed commitment and placed the order itself. But will the buildings stand the test of time? That's what I'm interested in."
Alex Ely, a policy adviser, CABE (Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment: "I'm wary of the quality you get when you build on the cheap. We need flexible homes that can be upgraded when people's circumstances change. You can't create sustainable communities where there is a high turnover of population and people are buying as a desperate measure."
Denise Markham, a council tenant in south London, married with two children: "I would want to know I wasn't getting a rubbish building that might lead to nothing but problems. I know how desperate you can be to own your own place and then for it all to go wrong. I would probably jump at the chance of buying a home for pounds 60,000 - but I'd want to ask a lot of questions first."
Wayne Hemingway, designer: "John Prescott is right on the button - as long as the Government delivers the land free and fully serviced. The joy of taking the land cost out is that you can give people the outside space. Wanting to kick a football around doesn't leave you at the age of seven."
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