This housing developer’s vision is to design and build quality homes that people aspire to live in.
Located across the Northwest, Northeast, Cumbria, and southern Scotland, Story Homes is rated as a 5-star housebuilder by the Home Builders’ Federation and National House Building Council. It prides itself on building homes with a high specification that comes as standard, using quality materials.
We take a look at Story Homes’ history and current operation, and scrutinise an independent review of the company to see exactly what homebuyers think about their Story Home.
Story Homes: the background
Fred Story founded the business in 1987, working from a bedroom office in his home with just three colleagues on projects in and around Carlisle. The business incorporated what is now Story Homes and Story Contracting. In 1988, Story Construction completed its first development, a four-home scheme near Carlisle. In 1989 more staff were taken on, taking the total employee number to 12.
In 1990 the business won its first housing award, the `Quality in the Residential Environment’ award from the Royal Town Planning Institute for a 12-home scheme at Moorhouse village in Cumbria. The company continued to grow and notched up its 1000th sale in 2011.
Story Construction began to focus on building high-quality homes and in 2012 the next chapter began when Story Homes was formed. In 2017 it launched its Signature Range, and the first development of these high-specification houses was opened in Morpeth, Northumberland; the homes featured inglenook fireplaces, Laura Ashley kitchens, and bi-fold doors. In 2019, a new collection of house types was launched which concentrated on providing open-plan family living.
Story Homes was awarded a 5-star customer satisfaction rating from the Home Builders’ Federation, following an assessment of National House Building Council surveys completed by customers, confirming that nine in ten customers would recommend the firm to a friend. In 2021 they received a gold rating from In-house, the customer satisfaction research body for the residential property sector: the findings revealed that over 94% of customers surveyed said they would recommend a Story Home.
Story Homes today
This Carlisle-based housing developer built over 900 new homes in 2022-23 across Cumbria, north west and north east England, and southern Scotland. It has regional offices in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Chorley and directly employs over 380 staff.
Hayley Blair, Story Homes’ sales and group marketing director, said that their homes are built to last, with a luxurious specification and using high-quality materials. She explained:
From our raw materials to the homes we deliver and the service we offer, quality is at the heart of everything we do. We build homes that we are proud to put our name to, and that our customers are proud to call home. We craft beautiful, well-designed homes that are solidly built and full of character.
Our layouts are open-plan, providing space and comfort for the whole family and our designs are modern and flexible. Our street scenes are unique; each home has its own sense of character, so customers live in homes that look different from their neighbours’.
Our high-quality specification includes so much more than you’d expect, with designer kitchens, bi-fold doors, waterfall showers, and fully turfed gardens with fences and paved patios, all as standard.
In October 2022, Story Homes was recognised by the prestigious UK Property Awards, winning two accolades for ‘Best Residential Development,’ and ‘Best Developer Website’. The Willows development in Darlington won the award for the Best Residential Development in the County Durham region in the north east, while their website also took the 5-star award, beating strong competition from national housebuilders.
Following this, their website was entered into the overall International Property Awards, which are judged by an independent panel of over 100 industry experts focusing on design, quality, service, innovation, originality, and commitment to sustainability. The company learned in February 2023 that its website was not only awarded the title of best in Europe but also best in the world.
Sustainability for the future
Story Homes has three sustainability pledges:
To create greener communities
It aims to design developments that look beautiful and are sustainable for generations to come, with new build homes that are greener and more economical to run than older properties as they use less energy and produce lower Co2 emissions.
To be a responsible business
To minimise the impact on the environment from building activities, the company’s goal is to reduce energy, water, and waste in their homes and in their offices.
To put people first
Continued investment in their staff to ensure they have the best people working for them.
After reviewing 917 householders, the online business review platform Trustpilot gave Story Homes an `Excellent’ rating and a trust score of 4.7 stars out of 5. This compares with Barratt (the UK’s biggest housebuilder) which achieved a trust score of 4.3, equating to 4.5 stars out of 5, from 5,600 reviews.
Of those reviewed, the vast majority praised Story Homes’ sales staff for their knowledgeability, and site managers and workmen for the quality of their work, including dealing with snagging issues.
|Star rating||Householder review|
|3 star||less than 1%|
Story Homes has several sites in Cumbria, the north east, north west, and Scotland with houses for sale. Here’s a taste of four developments where you can find a new Story Home for sale.
Brigsteer Rise, Kendal.
This development on the outskirts of Kendal in Cumbria features 2,3,4 and 5-bedroom detached and semi-detached homes. The exteriors feature stone and render, while inside, open-plan living, designer kitchens, oak staircases, and bi-fold doors come as standard.
The Cranford model has five bedrooms and costs £655,995. It has an `L’ shaped open plan kitchen/dining/family area, a kitchen fitted with integrated AEG appliances, and a kitchen island unit, making it a great entertaining space. A house this size offers options – for instance, one room could be a study, a snug, or a playroom. Four of the bedrooms are doubles, there are two ensuites and a family bathroom, and the integral garage could double up as a home gym.
D’Urton Manor, Fulwood, Preston.
A range of family homes has been built on this site which is close to the M6 and local amenities in the north west. The Hewson has four bedrooms and is priced at £434,995. It has an open plan kitchen/dining/family area, with a peninsula kitchen island, bay windows, French doors, and a utility room. There’s an integral garage, two ensuites, and a family bathroom.
The Birches, Chapelgarth, Sunderland.
The street scene on this development is a mix of brick, stone, and render making each home different from its neighbour. The Spencer house type is priced at £214,995 and has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, an `L’ shaped kitchen with French doors, a dining/family area, a block paved driveway, and a paved patio in the turfed rear garden.
Summerpark, Dumfries, Scotland.
This development has excellent links to the A75 and is a four-minute drive from Dumfries town centre. The Tweed, which costs £209,950, offers open-plan living space and has two double bedrooms, one single bedroom, and two bathrooms.
Ways to buy with Story Homes
The developer has schemes that offer help for first-time buyers, downsizers, or investors wanting to buy a new home. They include Mortgage Assist, where up to one year of your mortgage is covered; Home Move, which enables you to reserve a new home and Story Homes helps sell your current one, and Part Exchange, where the developer could be your guaranteed buyer, enabling you to reserve a home. Their Early Bird scheme offers the option to reserve a home that’s not been officially released for sale, while the Own New scheme can help buyers with just a 5% deposit.
If you have bought a new Story Home, we would love to share your views about it with our readers.
Would you recommend this developer to a friend?
Please leave us a comment in the box below.