One-on-One interview: Magnus Andersson of Skanska

Date:

Monday 29th October 2012

Magnus Andersson, President of Homes by Skanska.

Name and business title: Magnus Andersson, President, Homes by Skanska.

Where is your firm developing new homes? Within the last month, we have unveiled the first show home at our pioneering Seven Acres development of 128 new properties at in the Trumpington area of Cambridge. With reservations now being taken at Seven Acres, we have laid the foundations of a portfolio of developments across three regions - London, an eastern region comprising Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire and Essex, and a third area located around Bristol, Bath and Cheltenham.

Plans for a second development on part of one of Bath's Ministry of Defence sites have also been put on display for the first time and we are anticipating the submission of a formal planning application over the coming months.

What types of properties is Homes by Skanska building? Our focus will be on the premium sector and we will maintain a strong focus on family homes, based around functional living spaces.

We have taken a fabric-first approach to building our properties, which means each has been equipped with the insulation and energy-efficient, renewable technologies required to meet level 4 of the Code for Sustainable Homes. Our Seven Acres development also benefits from a design which maximises the ecological value of the local environment. Landscaped swales, green roofs and mini allotments complement the existing eco-system and allow residents to enjoy the natural environment.

How much does a Skanska home cost to buy? Reservations are now being taken at our Seven Acres development, with prices ranging from £289,000 for a two bedroom apartment to £760,000 for a four-bedroom, three-storey townhouse.

What makes a Skanska stand out from the crowd? Aside from some of the most sustainable homes in the UK, our aim is that each of our homes is beautifully designed but with functionality at the forefront of our minds. Access to natural light and flexible, open-plan living areas are prioritised, which offer residents a practical yet elegant living space. Distinctive Scandinavian designs feature throughout each home with high ceilings, large windows and well-planned, built in storage; combining practicality with elegance.

Have you noticed any particular buying trends recently? Clients understanding and knowledge of the housing market is continually increasing and their understanding of the benefits of owning a sustainable home is also increasing, we are seeing many clients taking a keen interest in the sustainable features our homes provide as they know this can make a huge impact on the environment and also save them money in the long term.

Is your company currently offering any incentives or discounts to homebuyers? At present we offer an assisted move service which instructs an estate agent on the customer's behalf to sell their home. They will then manage all the valuations, arrange viewings and liaise with potential buyers on our customer's behalf. All customers need to do is agree the asking price, and check the sales particulars are correct, leaving them to focus on moving into their new home.

Which Skanska development potentially offers the best property investment prospects? We have strategically chosen each of our locations, with Cambridge being our first live project. Latest research from Hometrack shows that Cambridge has seen the biggest increase in property prices since 2009 in the UK.

What is Skanska's USP? We have four core values that are at the heart of our business, Sustainability, Functional Design, Customer Focus and Place Making. When we first started out we knew we wanted to be recognised leaders in all these areas.
We strive to be sustainable in everything we do, but also we want to build beautiful homes with built in functionality designed for everyday life. By functional design we mean long-lasting and easy to use; we mean simple and solid elegance.

We also knew that we wanted to make it as easy as possible to buy a home, which is a process many people seem to associate with a great deal of frustration. To do this, we've tried to make the process as smooth as possible, legal documentation all in place, with legal advisors at sales events, along with people from financial services, and the architect themselves.

Has Skanska ever won a What House? Award? We only recently entered the UK property market for the first time, and so have not yet entered the What House? Awards.

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