About us | Acorn Homes (SW) Ltd
The Story Behind Acorn Homes
Mark Thomas, the founder and managing director of Acorn Homes South West Ltd, has had a unique journey building Acorn Homes into the successful property development firm it is today. Surviving two recessions and the financial insecurity and turmoil that that brings, Mark’s taken on property and land that other developers wouldn’t even consider. Never one to give up on his dream, Marks hunger for success, passion for property and sheer determination to create something beautiful from the ground up is nothing short of admirable. Obstacles often deter others from taking the next step, but Mark sees challenges as opportunities and where there’s an opportunity, there’s a project and the chance to create a development.
After finishing university and spending three years as a property surveyor, Mark bought his first house (in 2002), which he completely renovated and successfully sold the same year. It was this first house that ignited the spark in Mark and his passion for property development.
Shortly after completing his first house, Mark spotted an opportunity; a pub with planning permission for three flats and a house. Mark and his colleague at the time, aged only 24 and 21, decided to go into partnership. Securing a loan from HSBC they went on to convert the pub into four flats and gain planning permission to develop the house at the rear into four flats also. The duo carried out all the groundwork, labouring and carpentry on-site to help keep costs down and to maximise their return. The scheme was a success and taking on the name of the pub The Oak and ‘Acorn’, Acorn Homes was born.
Following their first project, Mark resigned as a surveyor and Acorn went on to develop many different projects in Glastonbury, Castle-Cary, Watchet and Taunton to name a few, which provided the experience needed to help the fledgeling company grow and develop. It is fair to say both patience and perseverance were put to the test as many of the projects completed prior to 2007 were carried out through an arch, meaning heavily restricted access where all materials had to be carried by hand (Mark even toyed with the idea of changing their company name to Archway Developments to reflect the number of schemes completed through an arch!).
Fast forward to 2008 and the UK entered into “The Great Recession” having a negative effect across the vast majority of businesses including property, resulting in funding for property development projects becoming much harder and longer to obtain. Ever adaptable and determined to make Acorn a success, regardless of challenging economic times, Mark took up a job with a friend driving his tractor and sold his personal car and replaced it with an old Vauxhall Vectra, stripping all the seats so he could transfer materials to his sites. Determined to succeed, Mark continued on with his property development passion.
Luckily the hard work finally began to pay off and despite the recession, Acorn Homes completed several successful projects including Malt House Court, Sea View Terrace, and Kingston House. Acorn also expanded employing their first team members, Steve Loveday and Steve Crossland. Determined it seemed, not to make his life easy though, Mark continued to develop property that was seen by others as challenging, finding great enjoyment in being able to turn the more difficult type of projects into a success.
Today Acorn has built a successful and unique portfolio of property including 231 new builds, 19 barn conversions with another 16 being built, and 221 homes for letting. Acorn continues to keep and retain a number of their affordable homes available to let in order to ensure the tenants, neighbours and landlords are all treated fairly. Community is incredibly important to Acorn as they desire for those living in their homes to be part of a harmonious and integrated community.
Regarding the future of Acorn Homes, there’s a lot of ambition. With their current completed developments standing at 26, Mark would love to build 1000 homes within the next decade along with increasing his rental portfolio. Mainly though, Acorn and the team hope to be able to continue their love for property by being able to work across an array of developments, ranging from new builds to restoration projects and brownfield sites, developing property that people will love and be able to make homes from.