All too often we hear about groundbreaking ideas, products which will change the market and self-sufficient housing which will address the UK’s growing housing problem. While the vast majority of these “revolutionary ideas” fail to deliver, entrepreneur Joseph Daniels has created a modular housebuilding system from his own experience. So, could we finally be making inroads into the U.K.’s growing housing problem?
Project Etopia – a real-life affair
Hedge fund millionaire Lord Fink was so impressed by Joseph Daniels idea for a modular housing system that he has invested £2 million into the company and taken up a position on the board. What is different with this idea, compared to the vast majority which grab the headlines, is the fact that Joseph Daniels was once homeless. Using this experience in a positive manner he has created what Lord Fink described as a “novel, credible, affordable and environmentally friendly way to provide starter homes for young people”.
Property innovation at its best
Historically, affordability often indicated low quality and shared services gave the impression of cramped living quarters. This has all changed with the creation of Etopia homes which include:
• Zero carbon
• Air control for heating and cooling
• Air purification
• Daylight mimicry
• Solar power
All of the inbuilt property technology is linked to smart controls thereby improving efficiency and reducing wastage. However, for many people it is the price and the build time which could be a game changer.
Cost and build time
As we await more details of Etopia homes we know already that it costs less to build than a traditional home. The build time has been reduced significantly taking just four weeks to build a home from the ground upwards. It is well documented that the UK population is growing, demand for residential property outweighs supply and prices are moving to levels which are unaffordable for the majority of first-time buyers. So, a property which is effectively self-sufficient, undercuts the cost of traditional residential property and takes just four weeks to build is a godsend.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that the average UK house price has increased from £160,000 in 2006 to just over £210,000 in 2016. The crucial owner-occupier numbers for the age range 25 to 29 have been hit hardest, falling from 29% to 15%. In what has fast become a self-fulfilling prophecy, an inability to climb onto the housing ladder creates greater demand for private residential property thereby pushing house prices higher and higher.
Affordability is the key
Joseph Daniels has been there, done it and knows exactly what is needed to create a meaningful change in the UK housing market. Affordability is obviously the key but the array of money-saving elements incorporated into these module houses means that cost savings can be reinvested into additional services. It is the drive and the vision of Project Etopia’s founder and chief executive which caught the attention of Lord Fink. The fact the company has already raised £2 million in its first major funding round says everything. As the politicians stagger and falter in their pursuit of an answer to the housing crisis yet again entrepreneurs like Joseph Daniels are left to step into the breach.
Check out the Project Etopia website for more details.