The waiting list is longer than a seven-year-old’s list for Santa after they’ve gone through the Argos catalogue.
Major Scottish housebuilder Stewart Milne Homes is looking to invest millions of pounds into the Dundee area after being stunned at the success of its Ballumbie Rise development.
It is its fastest-selling site in several years and has led the Aberdeen-firm to reassess where it plans its next projects.
Dundee is a main focus and the firm desperately wants to acquire land for further developments.
Tay Cities Deal will lead to prosperity
One of the main reasons is the optimism in the city which chief executive Stuart MacGregor described as a “renaissance” on the back of the V&A and waterfront development.
“Tayside is a target location for us, featuring prominently in our five-year business plan, which will see us focus on regions across Scotland where we have identified the strongest demand and from which we anticipate the strongest growth,” Mr MacGregor said.
“The Tay Cities Deal is also contributing to making the region more prosperous and sought-after. And we’re keen to be part of this.”
Moving to Arbroath
Stewart Milne has invested about £130 million in Tayside between the Ballumbie Rise development and Monarch Rise in Arbroath.
Combined, the sites will deliver about 570 homes by 2026 and will have supported or created 150 jobs.
The Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route has led to more people moving to Arbroath while the smaller Ballumbie Rise has sold out of each stage of its development. It has planning permission for 75 homes of which 25 have been delivered and another 25 reserved.
Oil and gas downturn hit demand Aberdeen
Mr MacGregor said: “For many years most of our investment has been in Aberdeen.
“Post 2014-15 when the oil and gas industry began to come under pressure we began to look at other areas.
“We thought the indicators in Dundee were pretty positive, but when we started with Ballumbie we had no idea how popular it would be.
“It’s been phenomenal – every time we release sites they sell out immediately. That’s why we are looking for more land in Tayside.”
The property market has boomed since full lockdown ended, with pent-up demand and the search for more space fuelling rising house prices.
During lockdown Stewart Milne redesigned its house plans to have more space for bedrooms and additional spaces that could be used for home working.
For the first time in the company’s history every house it will build for the next six months has already been sold.
Job losses with restructure
A change in focus on where future developments will take place recently led the firm to restructure, with up to 80 jobs in Aberdeen, Glasgow and Manchester under the threat of redundancy.
Dundee, along with Glasgow and Edinburgh, are seen as essential areas for the company going forward.
“There’s a general confidence in Dundee at the moment and being more affordable than the other three main Scottish cities allows certain industries to thrive,” the chief executive added.
“I think in the last five or six years there has been a much clearer vision about what Dundee needs to do to create economic growth.
“It’s been a consistent message and it has worked.
“I think affordable housing is a big advantage for Dundee as it tries to attract certain industries, like tech and the creative industries, which have a younger workforce.”