Building blocks for regeneration success
A community-led regeneration company commissioned us to carry out urban regeneration market research for a major UK city. They involved and consulted residents on all aspects of its work. It worked closely with public, private and voluntary sector organisations. It was also responsible to the local authority for its financial dealings.
We worked alongside property surveyors who carried out a stock condition survey of properties in the area.
- To obtain residents’ perceptions of the current condition of properties in the area, and of the facilities of the area as a whole
- To identify residents’ views on the priorities for the re-development of the area in the context of the budget available
- To track the buoyancy of the housing market on a continuous basis for several years after the initial research had been completed
The area’s diverse ethnic mix meant it was important to compare the views of white and Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) members of the population at all stages. Priorities for redevelopment were identified. We checked the extent to which properties were selling faster, and at a higher price, as the regeneration programme advanced.
Phase 1 Survey: Identification of needs and prioritisation of work
We conducted an in-home face-to-face survey amongst a sample of 850 households. We asked for views on the condition of their property, the facilities in the area as a whole and family income levels. The property surveyors carried out their stock condition survey on the same households. This allowed perceptions of the state of the property to be compared directly with its actual physical condition.
We followed up the face-to-face survey with a postal survey amongst the other households in the area. The regeneration company wanted everyone to have the opportunity to express their views. This provided views from a further 388 residents.
We also held a series of six focus groups. Some groups consisted only people from only one ethnic group whilst others were a mix of ethnicities. We discussed in detail what residents thought needed to be done. How should the relatively limited funds be allocated? What type of work did they feel offered best value for money? What type of resident and property should be prioritised? We outlined specific schemes and looked at their perceived advantages and disadvantages.
Phase 2 Survey: Residential Property Monitor
As the programme developed, we monitored the buoyancy of the area’s property market. We did this through a continuous programme of research for several years after the urban regeneration work had started. Fieldworkers visited every property in the area at monthly intervals, noting all those with a ‘For Sale’ or ‘Sold’ sign. Asking prices for the properties were established by regular checks of the property press and with estate agents in the area.
As information built up, we started to be able to identify trends in the number of properties being put on to the market. We recorded the speed with which they sold and the price being asked for them. Prices were compared with published information for the rest of the UK. Information was reported at total area level and for each main type of property.
To supplement this information, a face-to-face survey was carried out amongst buyers and sellers of properties in the area. This helped us find out why they were selling or buying the properties.
We summarised the research at the planning stage in a report. It outlined the needs and recommended strategies for the housing redevelopment.
Phase 2’s Residential Property Monitor clearly showed increased buoyancy in the housing market. This was obvious through asking prices and how quickly properties sold.