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Focus On Canary Wharf

Canary Wharf

Canary Wharf, E14 is the London property success story that simply refuses to end. When global finance went digital in the 80s, new multi-level trading floors and room to run miles of complex cabling demanded more space than the old Square Mile could provide. The Isle of Dogs, a dilapidated remnant of Britain’s seafaring heritage, was just along the river and crying out for renovation. As a result, modern new office blocks quickly replaced disused warehouses and the Docklands regeneration miracle was well under way.

 When we opened a branch of Benham and Reeves Estate Agents here in 2009, the famous pyramid-roofed One Canada Square dominated the skyline but today, this icon has been joined by many jaw-dropping structures, several of which are residential. However, property investors don’t need to be nervous about a glut in the market as demand for homes to rent in Canary Wharf continues to outstrip supply.

Applicants far outnumber available one bedroom apartments by 16 to 1 and it goes without saying that on our books, 68% of our 1 bed apartment stock is snapped up within a few days of coming onto the market. Void periods are negligible, including those for the remaining 32% which are mostly made up of two bedroom properties. We are confident that, providing apartments have the right bathroom to bedroom ratio and contemporary furnishings, they will let easily even while the UK property market goes through a period of correction as a result of Brexit.

Totally connected

The gleaming new office buildings of J.P. Morgan, Barclays, HSBC and Thomson Reuters are only part of the Canary Wharf picture. As the UK government continues to invest heavily in infrastructure, private property developers continue to provide a wide range of luxury high-rise apartments for landlords aiming to boost their investment portfolios. A new breed of corporate professional is earning more, marrying later and wants to work, live and play at the very centre of the economic wealth it helps create. The Docklands Light Railway, built specifically for the Docklands peninsula, has enabled this workforce to quadruple in the post-millennial decade running up to the 2012 Olympics and the Jubilee Line extension has, at a single stroke, connected them to the rest of the capital. The lesson is clear: no matter how many skyscrapers you build, if there are no convenient transport links, you can kiss any hope of future growth goodbye.

Since 2003 when I joined Benham and Reeves Estate Agents, I’ve witnessed how much Canary Wharf has benefitted from this wisdom. Luxury high- rise accommodation has flourished with the likes of Pan Peninsula and The Landmark leading the way, but as new builds are added to the shoreline, they now face stiff competition. Baltimore Tower and Providence Wharf provide smart alternatives and there are more property developments in the pipeline.

Great expectations

The average salary in Canary Wharf is £100,000, and together with a working population of well over 100,000 means that there is at least ten billion pounds worth of individual spending power pouring into Canary Wharf every year. While I can confidently point to Pan Peninsula, The Landmark and Millharbour as three notable property developments that are attracting attention, investors might like to check out some of the newer kids on the block. The high incomes and even higher expectations of tenants mean that landlords need to take an uncompromising attitude to the quality and detail of the properties that they wish to invest in. Property developers understand this and go a long way to fulfilling the wish list of many a high flyer by including luxury hotel-level amenities to accompany the stunning views of the Thames.

Higher and Higher

Pan Peninsula Exterior
Pan Peninsula

Pan Peninsula, E14, one of the pioneers of elevated urban living in London, is a well-known feature of the Canary Wharf skyline and a fitting counterpart to nearby One Canada Square. Twin towers of 38 and 48 floors contain studio, one and two bedroom apartments with prices starting at £340,000, £500,000 and £635,000, respectively. Amenities include a 24-hour concierge, a private fitness suite, bespoke business facilities and a residents-only Sky Lounge on the 40th floor.
Rents:
One bedroom apartments from £400 per week
Two bedroom apartments from £535 per week

The Landmark, E14, or 22 Marsh Wall, to use its official name, is another pairing of luxury residential high-rise developments. The apartments in these 30 and 40 storey towers are slightly nearer the Thames and boast an incredible glass covering that encases the first two floors. This has the effect of creating an exclusive piazza around the building containing restaurants and shops. Prices start at £499,000 for a one bedroom apartment and £685,000 for a two bedroom apartment.

Rents:
One bedroom apartments from £370 per week
Two bedroom apartments from £480 per week

Millharbour, E14 is a more affordable Canary Wharf investment option in that, whilst not possessing skyscraper dimensions, it still provides top-class amenities and great views of the area. One and two bedroom apartments are available for £350,000 and £495,000.

Rents:
One bedroom apartments from £350 per week
Two bedroom apartments from £410 per week

Baltimore Wharf exterior
Baltimore Wharf

Baltimore Tower, E14 in Crossharbour is a prime example of how fast the property scene moves in and around Can

ary Wharf. Here, we see 45 floors of elevated luxury being constructed on the site of Docklands Arena, a venue that was built at the start of the E14 boom in order to lure investment into the area. The days when this neighbourhood had to prove itself as a destination are long gone. One and two bedroom apartments in Baltimore Tower are available for £450,000 and £660,000 respectively.

Rents
One bedroom apartments from £425 per week
Two bedroom apartments from £550 per week
Three bedroom apartments from £750 per week

Providence Wharf E14 near Blackwall is the brightest new addition to the Canary Wharf residential options. A five-star property development with a spa, pool, gym plus a communal Sky Garden on one of the upper floors, it is definitely one to watch. Prices start at £450,000 and £525,000 respectively for one and two bedroom apartments.

Rents:
One Bedroom apartments from £425 per week
Two bedroom apartments from £550 per week
Three bedroom apartments from £750 per week

Like many older London neighbourhoods, Canary Wharf also has its favourites which provide solid rental investment opportunities. Seacon Wharf and most notably the Naxos Building where we have done numerous lets, has been very popular with corporate professionals since it was rolled out in 2004 and continues to do brisk business. Rents here provide a steady income with one bedroom furnished apartments starting from £425 per week.

Work and life balance

Apart from the on-site amenities situated in these new builds, residents have access to numerous upscale retail outlets, restaurants and cultural spaces. Three shopping malls – Canada Place, Cabot Place and Jubilee Place are home to famous global fashion brands, with Canary Wharf home to the UK’s largest Waitrose supermarket. Restaurants range from pop-up street food stalls, to the latest celebrity chef venture, with a wide range of tastes and cuisines catered for. High-tech venues like the East Winter gardens are available to host events, exhibitions and private functions. Outdoor movie screenings, beach volleyball, ice skating and a jazz festival all take place in the open spaces that are dotted around the area.

Ready to do business

Canary Wharf is due to become even more accessible in the next two years as the Crossrail initiative starts to make its presence felt in the capital. The Canary Wharf stop on what is now officially known as the Elizabeth Line is a major part of the new network that connects the Docklands to Heathrow Airport. International business travellers will be able to step off their flight and be meeting Canary Wharf-based clients in just over half an hour. London City Airport which specialises in short-haul European flights is also planning to expand its capacity. For more leisurely trips from the Docklands peninsula, a reliable and scenic riverboat service runs from Canary Wharf Pier into the City and the West End.

Marine Wharf Office-2
Marine Wharf branch office

Across the Thames, neighbourhoods are experiencing the effects of Canary Wharf’s ongoing progress. Marine Wharf, Canada Water and New Capital Quay are all positioned on the opposing south bank, yet have the same views, amenities and fast transport links. Prices are competitive with one, two and three bedroom apartments in Marine Wharf, Surrey Quays, SE16 costing around £450,000, £500,000 and £630,000 respectively with rents starting at £300, £425 and £550 per week. Since we opened a lettings branch on-site at the development in 2015, demand has been insatiable. We are also looking forward to Marine Wharf East, a new Galliard scheme coming on stream very soon.

Canary Wharf, along with the surrounding neighbourhoods of South Quay, Westferry and Mudchute is an area that demonstrates the value of keeping ahead of developmental trends, a position it achieves by being an influencer, rather than a follower. No matter the economic, political and social temperature elsewhere, Canary Wharf’s energy and optimism will always attract investment.

Please do contact me if you have a home to let in Canary Wharf or Docklands or would like an up-to-date valuation of your rental property.

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About the Author

Mark has worked in property for nearly 20 years, initially in estate agency and then moving on to work for a corporate serviced apartment provider. He has been based in the City and Docklands for 14 years and joined Benham and Reeves in 2003 as manager of the City office, going on to set up the Canary Wharf office in 2009 and now he also heads the Greenwich office which opened in 2013. ARLA qualified, Mark has the NAEA (NFOPP) qualification.

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