WhatHouse? interview with Andy Morris, MD of Hayfield  

October 1, 2021

1.       Andy, your role changed from Operations Director when you were promoted to Managing Director earlier this year, how have your day-to-day responsibilities changed?

“I have more of an input into the whole Hayfield business now and work much more closely with the shareholders and investors. However, I am still very involved with every aspect of build and customer care, as that is the very essence of what Hayfield delivers.

“In the past few weeks, I have had the pleasure of collecting three national industry awards, which has to be the best part of becoming MD! It brings such joy to the whole Hayfield team to be recognised for delivering excellence. And it makes my three children really proud of their dad too.”


2.       Hayfield grew by 25 per cent in 2020, during a global pandemic, how were you able to achieve this?

“What we achieved last year – completely against the odds – was thanks to a monumental team effort. Being a small company, we were able to think innovatively and make quick decisions. In May 2020 – at a time when the housing market had been shut for a few months – we took the decision to break ground on three new development sites.

“We also struck it lucky by having a product that seemingly every house hunter wants; luxury family homes in aspirational semi-rural/edge of town locations. From the moment the housing market re-opened in summer 2020, we have been amazed by the continued demand. We are able to sell well in advance of our build programme, because people are so eager to secure their preferred Hayfield home.”


3.       You’ve committed to delivering 300 luxury homes across middle England at eight sites this year, are you still on track?

“At this stage into the year, it’s becoming evident that we may fall slightly short of our target of delivering 300 new homes, as the raw materials shortage has had an unfortunate impact on some recent build completion dates. However, due to the size and quality of the homes we have been delivering this year, we anticipate being very close to achieving our £100m turnover goal.”


4.       How do you ensure you hit your own high eco-friendly standards when building?

 “Hayfield is proactively installing Air Source Heat Pumps, underfloor heating, the smartest electric vehicle fast-charging points available, and ultra-fast broadband into all new and upcoming developments. These features – alongside are current build specification – ensures all new Hayfield homes exceed the 2022 Future Homes Standard by 100%.” 

5.       And how is the new-build market performing at the moment?

“The new-build market is performing so well week-in, week-out, we haven’t even experienced a typical summer holiday lull. It seems to be the combination of Hayfield’s traditional architecture with a luxury, eco-efficient interior that is really striking a chord with purchasers.

“Following the temporary pause to virtually all construction activity in spring 2020, and the procedures put in place to tackle the spread of Covid-19, the industry is still playing catch-up to make up for the chronic shortfall in quality new homes. Meanwhile, consumer demand is genuinely unprecedented.”

6.       This year, 96.4% of your customers reported that they’d recommend Hayfield to a friend – what do you think are the particular ‘Hayfield touches’ that would make them do this?

“We pride ourselves on delivering an attentive and personalised customer journey. Purchasers really value our ‘Handyman for a Day’ service, as it takes away the hassle of putting up shelves, mirrors and pictures. We also provide unique moving in gifts and meal vouchers to raise a smile and take away some of the stress of moving. These thoughtful touches of boutique luxury are what sets us apart.”

7.       Are you responding to different lifestyle trends since the pandemic, as people look to carve out a better home/work life balance?

“Yes, we are! During the first Covid-19 lockdown, we decided to upgrade our standard specification to incorporate sound-reducing insulation into the dedicated study, or smallest bedroom of every Hayfield home. This means that when our purchasers work from home, there will be far less noise disturbance from other family members. As of last year, we also install OFNL fibre provision with up to 360Mbps download speeds, as standard.”   

8.       Can you share any insights into what ‘the next big thing’ in new-build design is going to be?

“Our purchasers are far more eco-aware these days. They want to reduce their carbon footprint and lower their household bills – especially at a time when energy prices are rising so significantly. There is much more that can be done to make new homes greener, but to ensure more energy-saving specification changes are made across the board, they need to be stipulated by national building regulations and planning policy.

“The proactive investment we have made by implementing our Green Revolution Pledge across all new Hayfield developments is paying off, as our eco-friendly specification is a big reason in why people are choosing to buy one of our homes.”

9.       Do you offer incentives to buyers at your developments?

“From time to time, we do offer some plot specific incentives. However, our main incentive is the £5,000 discount we offer to all Key Workers and Armed Forces personnel. This discount is offered on all homes in our portfolio, in thanks of the efforts these people put in to providing all our essential services.”

10. And finally, what would be your top tip for a nervous first-time buyer in the current market?

“Given the ongoing challenges first-time buyers face to raise a deposit and access the property ladder, we are pleased that the Government’s Help to Buy scheme is available across our development portfolio, in accordance with an applied regional price cap. We are also excited about the potential of the new First Homes initiative, which will ensure a market discount of at least 30% is maintained with the home in perpetuity.

 “My top tip to anyone nervous about buying now is to research house price trends and look into what the analysts are predicting. Everything I read says that house prices are continuing to rise, so the sooner a new buyer can make that first step on the ladder, the better it may be in the long run, especially with how expensive it is to rent. I would also add that buying a small house - rather than an apartment - could be a better investment. Our Lulsley, Hawford and Buckland house designs are very popular with first time buyers, while our Hatton design won Best Family Home at the First Time Buyer Readers’ Awards a few weeks ago.”