The proportion of the public prepared to buy a new-build home has risen sharply since the end of the nineties, according to research by the estate agent Savills.

The figures, contained in an unpublished study on consumer attitudes to housing, show that the share of the public that would consider a new-build property has climbed from 20% in 1999 to 75% in 2006.

Yolanda Barnes, Savills’ director of mixed-use research, said this change had been fuelled by the vogue for city centre apartment living, which had transformed the public’s perceptions of developers.

She said: “There’s never been a better time to be innovative in building design. The appetite for something that looks like it has come out of Grand Designs and not a standard volume housebuilder’s pattern book has never been greater.”

She added that with developers bringing forward larger sites in areas such as Milton Keynes and Barking Riverside in the Thames Gateway, it was increasingly important to appeal to a broader cross-section of the market.