XUSA Properties are an innovative property development firm – and their mission is simple. Make living enjoyable and affordable for everyone. Ahead of their involvement on our Next Generation Developments Conference we spoke to their Founder Alex Impey to find out a little more…

Q. Alex, you’re one of the Founder’s of XUSA Properties – tell us a little about how the company came about?

A few years back I was trying to purchase my own home and found the lack of affordable options uninspiring and what more everything was faceless and soulless, there was no continuity. 

I finally got a place (a lovely 2 bed flat) and then found that I became isolated, lack of neighbour interactions and felt ripped off by the whole process.  My neighbours complained about the ‘social housing development and scary neighbours’ bringing down property values and reputation, and slapping a tag on our neighbours only escalated the issues further, where it got to the point you couldn’t walk down the street without abuse being directed at you. 

“I thought that there must be a better way to do this. This led me on a path to look at the bigger problem.”

I wanted to create housing developments which were completely different and which would transform the lives of younger people; both aspiring renters and home owners.  Those people who want affordable urban based homes with an end to end community living, which addresses all aspects of a quality life.

One which doesn’t label people as social or private and one which engenders community living whilst addressing the larger UK housing problem and the lack of quality affordable and socially developed housing stock.  A win for both the customer and for the nation.

Q. You’re clearly passionate about delivering affordable and social housing. Where does this passion come from?

I grew up within social and council housing as a child.  My mum was a single parent with no income, and I was appreciative of how affordable housing had contributed to my development and ability to live and grow.  It wasn’t till many years later that I could truly appreciate the role housing had in this process. 

At the same time, I could also see the failings of social housing and the legacy impact which ‘council estates’ had left in my own town of Hartlepool. I recognised firsthand that quality affordable housing alone, was not the answer.  We needed to work to provide something which addressed all aspects of life, for someone using affordable housing, we focused on the following elements; live, work, recreation, health, education, opportunity and more importantly community, whilst removing breaking the stigmatisation of social housing in the UK. 

Q. Your aim is “to make quality living both affordable and enjoyable for everyone”, what do you think the key ingredients are to achieving that and what makes your approach different to other developers out there?

As house builders and developers in general, I am certain that every single one of us, however big or small, genuinely want to help alleviate the current housing crisis which our nations are currently suffering.

“However, we at XUSA have a bigger mission. One which will change the face of housing in the UK forever.”

How do we plan on delivering our aim exactly? 

This answer is simple with our secret source…community!

It is this community element which differentiates us and separates each one of our developments.  However, outside of the community we have seven distinct facets which make up XUSA housing model and drive us to focus on our residents and be better, please see our product model below:

Q. What other schemes are you actively working on?

We have several projects in the pipeline, all aimed at delivering XUSA’s unique product model as described above. 

One of notable interest is our Scottish flagship, which is a 1.75 acre site in Aberdeen, which is running through the design phase as we speak and should be starting construction at the end of this year.  This scheme is for 36 apartments and 12,500 sq ft of commercial space, which includes:

  1. A coworking, office and ‘makers’ space
  2. A Café and Bar
  3. A fully functional gym and wellbeing centre
  4. Integrated SMART homes and digital/physical community

All of this is wrapped around our affordable housing principles and in this particular complex we have aimed for 30% of our homes to be available for social and will cater for both the sales and rental market.  We do not commute our affordable housing requirements or back away from this and look to bring this under the same roof.  This is a hugely exciting project for us and Aberdeen. Images of the scheme can be seen below:

We also have exciting plans in the North East which we hope to share more details on soon.

Q. The impact of Covid-19 is going to be huge, but this is throwing up some opportunities for some developers to look at things differently. Do you think any of your planned or future schemes might look different due to the lessons we’ve learnt from the Covid-19 outbreak?

I try to keep a positive outlook as a developer, but there will always be those who take a bullish or bearish perspective in times like this.

I think COVID-19 has been an eye opener for many developers at all stages of a project from concept, construction and into operation.  Personally, it has helped reinforce the need to develop projects around communities which can operate in both a physical and digital domain. 

End to End living which can cater for the needs of residents at their doorstep will be even more important.  I also believe that we need to focus on the end user much more, long gone are the times when we would build ‘units’ with the expectation that people were lucky to pick it up.  Let’s stop shoehorning residents into our own developer expectations.

Q. What’s the vision for XUSA – where do you see the firm in 5-10 years time.

Our 10 year plan (which is to be implemented by end of 2028) is to be an internationally established community housing developer and to be the No.1 mixed tenure developer of choice in the UK. 

We want to be recognised for our commitment to support public/private partnerships with LA’s, LHA’s within the UK and Europe and we aim to have had over 7,500 XUSA homes through our legal completion pipeline, with 1,500 of these houses being provided to the Social Housing Market. 

We commit to serve fantastic value to more than 19,500 households in the process. 

Alex Impey, Founder of XUSA Properties, will be speaking on our Next Generation Developments Conference. Click here to register >