Another Successful RESI

Cathy Fuller, Head Of Events at Property Week

Cathy Fuller, Head Of Events at Property Week

On September 10th the property industry’s best and brightest descended upon the Welsh countryside to attend the UK’s biggest property event, RESI 2014.

Once again we had more than 1,000 delegates in attendance networking, discussing the current state of the residential property sector and enjoying a full conference programme of opinion and debate, Chaired by Mark Eason, the BBC’s Home Editor.

Leading developers, researchers, financiers and politicians took to the stage to talk about the key issues facing the sector and I have collated some of the biggest talking points to come out of this year’s conference.

The first session of the conference put housing under the microscope to look beyond the news headlines, rhetoric and conjecture. Brandon Lewis MP, the Minister of State for Housing and Planning, used the Political Keynote speech to outline the government’s proposed measures to give private tenants a fairer deal. This included launching a model tenancy agreement and a new Private Rented Sector Code – to encourage longer tenancies – as well as voicing his support for Sarah Teather’s private member’s bill to end retaliatory evictions.

Mr Lewis also touched upon the challenge that the country faces with the need to protect greenbelt land while also providing enough homes to meet the surge in demand. He announced that, via the Government’s Build-to-Rent scheme, 2,000 new private rental homes would be provided in Liverpool, Durham and London.

David Cowans, from Places for People, also spoke about the issue of greenbelt land and stated that, despite public opinion to the contrary, he believed that there is in fact a lot of greenbelt land that is suitable for development. He believes that saying “…everywhere inside this greenbelt can’t ever be built on” is an unsustainable position.

David also used his time to talk about the need for a balanced debate when it comes to property planning, with the need to bring in development advocates to oppose the NIMBYs (Not In My Back Yard). He also stated that he believed that, at the time of development, there should be greater involvement from future owners of new-build properties, believing that this would help provide a balanced and “a much more democratic” debate.

As part of the session on ‘Housing Lessons from the Past and Solutions for the Future’ Richard Blakeway, London Deputy Mayor of Housing, talked about the challenge faced by the Capital and emphasised the need for changes to the city’s infrastructure to provide the levels of housing needed to meet with the ever growing demand.

The fifth session of the conference tackled ‘Big Data’ and how this could be used by the residential property sector. The session looked at how ‘Big Data’ was being used in other sectors and how this could be translated to investment, planning and marketing within the residential sector.

As usual, the annual RESI Gala dinner was a high point of the conference and provided delegates with ample opportunity to digest and discuss the day’s events and share their own opinions on the state and direction of the industry. This year Francesca Roberts provided an impassioned and informative speech on the work of CRASH, a unique, practical charity addressing the issues of homelessness by harnessing the skills, products and goodwill of the property and construction industry.

Post-dinner entertainment this year was provided by ventriloquist-comic Nina Conti. During her performance Nina pulled Helen Moore (Managing Director at City & Country) and George Cardale (National Head of Residential Development Sales at Savills) to help her with her act.

Be sure to check out @RESIevent and the hashtag #RESICon14 to catch up with all the buzz from the event. It great to be involved with such a fantastic event and we are already looking forward to making sure next year is just as good (maybe even better!).

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