Top 10 UK property developers according to first-time buyers

Discover the 10 best property developers according to verified first time buyers on HomeViews. The list ranks the winners in the category ‘Top Rated Build to Sell Developer for First Time Buyers’, from our 2024 Resident Choice Awards.

What does a property developer do?

A property developer typically manages the entire process of developing and building new homes. This can start at the stage of purchasing land or existing property, which can involve negotiating financial support packages. The process includes developing plans and designs for the development, applying for and obtaining the necessary planning consents, and appointing construction firms and contractors to carry out the build. Developers may also manage the marketing and sales of their properties, and provide after-sales care to buyers and residents. This ensures developers are involved in every stage of the property development process.

How many property development companies are there in the UK?

According to propertydata.com, who publish the UK Housebuilders Directory, there are 2,460 active housebuilders and residential property developers in the UK, as of March 2024. Companies range from massive developers with national coverage, building thousands of units every year, to smaller, local developers.

Top 10 developers for first time buyers

So, which of the UK’s property developers are rated the best for first-time buyers, according to our 2024 Resident Choice Awards? If you’re a first-time buyer and you’re considering purchasing a new-build property, take a look below to check out the list.

Please note: this Top 10 list is not based on the Star Ratings shown below, but purely on reviews between 17 October 2022 to 31 December 2023. Only developers with a minimum of 50 reviews in this period were considered for the awards.

Graphic of the top 10 developers for first-time buyers

1. Berkeley Homes

Berkeley Homes

Number of Developments

45
4.20 Rating (based on 1426 reviews)

Berkeley Homes is part of Berkeley Group – one of Britain’s best-known property developers. Operating across London, Birmingham and the South of England, the company established in the 1970s. Made up of a number of companies – along with Berkeley Homes, there’s St Edward, St George, St Joseph, St James and St William. From family […] Read more about Berkeley Homes

2. Story Homes

Number of Developments

12
4.08 Rating (based on 149 reviews)

Founded in 1987, Story Homes is a housing developer with schemes in Cubria, North West and North East England and Southern Scotland. Their mission is to design and build quality homes that people aspire to live in.

Read more about Story Homes

3. Ballymore Group

Ballymore Group

Number of Developments

15
4.09 Rating (based on 616 reviews)

Ballymore is a family-run property developer with a multi award-winning portfolio of some of Europe’s largest and most transformative urban development projects. Ballymore’s projects are defined by their “originality and a commitment to quality.” The company oversees every element of design, construction, and facilities management, constantly aiming to challenge industry norms. It is driven by […] Read more about Ballymore Group

4. CALA Homes

Number of Developments

35
4.17 Rating (based on 216 reviews)

CALA Homes is a large British housebuilding company with their headquarters in Edinburgh, Scotland. Founded in 1875, the company aims to provide ‘exceptional design and build.’ CALA Homes developments Millbrook Park by CALA Homes is a development currently listed on HomeViews. It features a selection of 92 one, two, three and four-bedroom homes in North […] Read more about CALA Homes

5. Pocket Living

Pocket Living

Number of Developments

11
3.98 Rating (based on 56 reviews)

Pocket Living was created in 2005 to provide affordable London housing for local people. Pocket homes are built for first-time buyers who live and work in the area, and are offered at least 20% cheaper than average flats in the same postcode. Pocket Edition homes are available to anyone, and there’s a small selection of […] Read more about Pocket Living

6. David Wilson Homes

Number of Developments

28
3.96 Rating (based on 344 reviews)

David Wilson Homes is a part of Barratt Developments PLC. It is known for ‘its beautifully designed houses that are built to the highest quality with fixtures and fittings to match.’ David Wilson Homes developments Kingsbrook is a joint venture development by David Wilson Homes and Barratt Homes listed on HomeViews. It features a range […] Read more about David Wilson Homes

7. Bloor Homes

Number of Developments

25
4.09 Rating (based on 186 reviews)

Bloor Homes has over  50 years experience in the UK residential sector. The company strives to put its homeowners at the heart of all its decisions, applying its Bloor Standards to ensure consistent quality and service is achieved. Bloor Homes properties Bloor Homes features 21 developments with reviews on HomeViews. The company currently has 132 […] Read more about Bloor Homes

8. Davidsons Homes

Davidsons Homes

Number of Developments

14
4.24 Rating (based on 192 reviews)

Davidsons Homes is a family owned and managed company with over three generations of experience in homebuilding. For over fifty years they have been committed to uniting people across the Midlands with beautifully designed properties that they can truly call their own. Also, their developments are built with traditional values, attention to detail, and a […] Read more about Davidsons Homes

9. Fairview New Homes

Fairview New Homes

Number of Developments

28
3.92 Rating (based on 476 reviews)

Founded in 1961, Fairview New Homes is a property developer. They build detached family homes and city apartments in well-connected locations across London and also the Home Counties. Their developments vary from small collection of homes in village locations to large regeneration projects of hundreds of apartments. In addition, Fairview New Homes aims to always […] Read more about Fairview New Homes

10. Telford Homes

Telford Homes

Number of Developments

31
4.12 Rating (based on 559 reviews)

Telford Homes is a London-based property developer that was established in 2000, specialising in mixed-use, residential-led schemes. These homes build communities where there’s a shortage of homes, with mixed tenures and a focus on sustainability. Telford Homes developments HomeViews lists a number of London developments by Telford Homes. Also, lots of these are in East […] Read more about Telford Homes

More for first-time buyers

What’s the difference between property development and construction?

While construction firms are specialists in the process of building new homes, property developers oversee the entire development process. This can start at the stage of acquiring land and property for development, and end after completion of the sale. Property development companies may appoint construction firms to carry out building work on a new property development. However, a construction firm wouldn’t typically design and manage the entire development process.

How do you identify a good property developer?

If you’re considering buying a property directly from a developer, you may want to do some research on the company’s track record. HomeViews’ property reviews from verified residents can give you a strong indication of the success and quality of a new build developer. You may also want to research a developer’s previous developments.

Consider factors such as sustainability of the development and the care and attention given to transport connections. You might also think about green space, proximity to, or provision of, local amenities. Another important factor is whether the layout of the development is well-designed and easily navigable. Check marketing materials for details of the quality of finish and fittings, and for any details of after-sales care.

What is HomeViews?

What are the advantages of buying directly from a property developer?

Buying directly from a new build property developer can be the most cost-effective to purchase your new home. If you’re buying off-plan, or before the construction of the property is completed, you may be able to secure a significant discount on the purchase price. You could also potentially have a say in the specification, finish and fittings of your property.

Buying directly from a developer also cuts out agents and third parties. This may make the process of completing the transaction smoother. Developers often provide after-sales care and services, including fixing any snagging issues with the property, so you’re not completely on your own after completing your purchase.

What are the advantages of buying a new-build property?

Buying a new-build property directly from a developer has many advantages. It’s usually cheaper to buy a property before or during its construction, than it is after construction is complete. New-build properties can also provide you with access to home buying support schemes such as Shared Ownership, if you’re a first-time buyer.

Aside from the financial benefits, new-build homes offer a blank canvas for you to make your mark on. There are unlikely to be any big jobs that you’ll want or need to do on the property. They also offer the benefit of being chain-free and having to meet energy efficiency standards, making your energy bills cheaper.

For more information on buying a new-build home, take a look at our list of 10 things new build owners wish they’d known before buying.

Do first-time buyers pay stamp duty?

The rules regarding stamp duty (or Stamp Duty Land Tax, to use its official name), are different for first-time buyers. You typically pay stamp duty on property purchases above £250,000, at 5%, though this increases for more expensive properties. However, if you’re a first-time buyer you don’t pay stamp duty unless your property is valued at more than £425,000. You can read more about stamp duty in our guide for first-time buyers.

Thinking of buying a new-build?

Then look no further, our new-build essential advice page has everything you need to know. From a step-by-step guide to buying a new build, to the top 10 things new-build buyers wish they had known before purchasing, it can help prepare you for every element of your next move. We’ve also put together a New Build Resident Experience Report, which you can download here.

You can also find further advice for first-time buyers in our guide to first-time buyer schemes and our first-time buyer’s guide to getting a mortgage.


HomeViews provides verified resident reviews of the UK’s housing developments. We’re working with developers, house builders, operators, housing associations and the Government to recognise high performers and help improve standards in the built environment.

written by

Jan Moys

A residential property expert with over 15 years’ experience creating content... Read all

A residential property expert with ov... Read all