Two Countrywide brands have joined forces to launch Airspace Exchange – a service to push the idea of constructing homes and other property through ‘rooftop development’.
The brands are high-end residential agency Hamptons International and the company’s sole commercial service, Lambert Smith Hampton.
The six-person team is led by Ezra Nahome, who joined LSH 19 years ago and led the management buy out of the firm in 2007 and its subsequent sale to Countrywide; he has been chief executive of LSH for the past decade.
“The UK needs between 240,000 and 340,000 new homes a year until 2031 to meet current demand. These are ambitious figures and with space in short supply, especially across key cities, taking advantage of the benefits of Airspace Exchange will help provide a part long-term solution to the national housing problem” says Nahome.
Others in the team include Jonny Enticknap, Hampton International’s head of central London residential development.
However, promotional material for the division - which launched this month - makes much of the combined forces of Hamptons International and LSH, saying: “Together we have 3,000 staff and over 100 nationwide locations, so we’re confident we have the expertise to help you realise your airspace potential.”
The division will work with individual property owners but is focussed chiefly on large scale developers and says:
“Finding the space to help our urban communities live, work and thrive sustainably is one of the central challenges of our time. The solution? Utilise what you already have, and build up, with airspace.
“It will deliver more space and a better-built community, solve asset repositioning and, ultimately, enhance values.
“Helpfully, the government has published its revised National Planning Policy Framework, which now supports development above existing residential and commercial premises for new homes. This means, securing planning permission is easier than ever before for this type of development.”
The innovative division comes at a difficult time for Countrywide; its residential side is undergoing an unannounced branch closure programme of indeterminate side, while just over two years ago there was high-level speculation that LSH may be for sale - although the current senior management team has categorically denied the division would be sold.