A County Durham housebuilder is bucking industry trends by growing its housing portfolio across the region.

Homes by Esh, which is part of Esh Group, has enjoyed a good start to the year amid fluctuations in mortgage and interest rates and is on course to nearly double its number of live developments before the end of 2024.

One of the most high-profile sites will be the group's most luxurious homes, a collection of four, five and six-bedroom properties which will go to market at Havelock Park, near Blackwell, Darlington later this year.

With mortgage rates in the next couple of months predicted to become more stable, the company says sales will continue to rise after maintaining healthy levels through 2022 and 2023. Four live developments comprising of more than 600 new build homes have put the firm on a steady growth trajectory, which deputy managing director Colin Willetts claims has strengthened the business’ proposition.

He said: “With planning applications in for multiple sites across County Durham, our portfolio is expanding at a steady pace. While we have four live housing developments ongoing, we are strengthening our pipeline further through strategic land acquisition across the North East and anticipate that we will have seven live sites as we move into 2025.”

Homes by Esh has been working with Darlington Borough Council in a joint venture for more than five years to improve the housing offer within the borough, with its largest development at West Park Garden Village on the outskirts of the town.

More than 400 new homes will be built, delivering a mixture of two- and three-bedroom smaller homes and three- and four-bedroom homes hitting the middle of the market, priced from £149,995 for two-bedroom, £179,995 for three-bedroom, and £324,995 for four-bedroom homes respectively. The location boasts brand-new green spaces, including West Park Nature Reserve which is the first new park to be created in the area for 100 years.

Be the first to know with The Northern Echo and take advantage of our exclusive offer by CLICKING HERE. £5 for 5 months or 40% off your annual cost.

Two further developments are also underway with Elder Brook Park and Hurworth Meadows.

Willetts said: “The market is understandably influenced by the widely publicised issues surrounding the cost of living and interest rates. We have introduced deals to support prospective homeowners and outweigh any small interest rate drops which are expected this year.”

Another arm of the Esh Group has also been praised for its commitment to a new ‘Constructing Careers’ programme at Middlesbrough College.

Working in partnership with the college and Thirteen Group, Esh Construction designed ‘Constructing Careers’ to engage, enable and excite underrepresented groups into employment by teaching entry-level construction skills and employability.

As the inaugural programme reached its conclusion, Karen Woodland, Associate Director, Business Development & Subcontracting for Adult & Community Learning at Middlesbrough College, said she was impressed by the programme’s content and outcomes.

The Northern Echo: Middlesbrough College, Thirteen Group and Esh Construction launch Constructing Careers programme Middlesbrough College, Thirteen Group and Esh Construction launch Constructing Careers programme (Image: Esh)

“The Tees Valley area has a lot of construction opportunities, and we want to broaden people's employment options. Middlesbrough College is very proud to have worked with Esh on this programme. Not only does it open doors to information about various career paths in the industry, but the participants are being taught in a practical learning environment, having a taster of multiple areas of the building trade and gaining practical experience outdoors in a real working environment.

“It’s not even just about this cohort either. Hopefully, someone will read about Constructing Careers and think, ‘I can do that’ – we have taken people who have zero skills in construction, given them a taster, and whet their appetite to say, this is what you could be doing. Programmes like Constructing Careers not only address the skills gap but also ignite passion, broaden perspectives, and empower learners to build fulfilling careers in construction.”

Esh’s Social Value Manager for the North East, Kate Marshall said: “We know there is a huge skills gap in our sector, particularly in the Tees Valley area, therefore by working with Middlesbrough College we have been able to tailor the Constructing Careers programme to the area’s needs.

“Across the region, we provide 30 bespoke programmes centred around six key themes – employment, education, engagement, environment, employees and the economy. The Constructing Careers programme was developed to give jobseekers insights into roles in our industry and set them on a path to finding their positive destination.”