Thinking of converting property for residential use?

Following an inquiry conducted by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Ending Homelessness and the APPG on Housing Market and Housing Delivery, Propertymark has issued a cautionary statement highlighting challenges associated with converting vacant commercial properties into affordable housing.

The inquiry aimed to explore the potential of utilizing the increasing number of empty commercial buildings, resulting from the pandemic-driven shift away from office-based work, as a means to address the growing housing shortage.

Viability of Conversions

Propertymark, after consulting with its members, has emphasised that many conversions would not be financially viable or suitable for residential use, even if conversion efforts were undertaken.

In order to incentivise conversions, developments would need to offer attractive financial prospects; otherwise, property owners and developers would not consider converting their properties. Furthermore, numerous commercial properties are situated in areas lacking necessary community facilities, which could potentially isolate residents.

Establishment of High Standards

To ensure that conversions result in the creation of quality homes, Propertymark advocates for the establishment of clear and achievable high standards that converted properties must meet. This would prevent substandard conversions that fail to provide a suitable standard of living.

Consistency in Planning System Decisions

Propertymark members have also highlighted issues with the planning system, citing inconsistent granting of planning approvals. For conversions to be feasible on a national scale, Propertymark emphasises the need for clear guidance to be provided to local authorities, enabling them to consistently approve conversion projects.

Download the full response.