We’re seeing good demand from domestic buyers looking to find a new home, as London’s professionals continue to re-assess their lifestyles and adapt to new post-Covid ways of living and working. We usually see a lull in demand during August, but this year enquiries have remained steady, possibly due to the continuing rush from buyers keen to push through completions before possible further interest rate rises.
As we move into the autumn, enquiries are fairly good although stock remains at an all-time low in London. Transaction levels remain stable as buyers aim to complete their house purchase as quickly as possible but we desperately need more as stock. So if you are planning to sell your London house or flat, please contact one of our branches who will be happy to talk to you about the local market and organise a free market appraisal of your property.
An interesting trend we’re seeing is the increase in demand for houses – the ‘race for space’. This too is a direct result of homeowners’ re-evaluation of their priorities and what they want from their homes, post Covid. This growing demand for houses has been noticeable for some months and houses in London are being snapped up very quickly – both central London properties as well as in outer prime areas such as Hampstead, Highgate, Richmond and Wimbledon.
In fact, we have seen an 8% increase in house completions in London – this outperforms the sale of new build apartments for the first time in over a decade.
But this higher demand for houses means there is a clear shortage of good stock. This is frustrating for many of our buyers who are finding it difficult to find the right property.
With travel restrictions in place over the last couple of years, demand from overseas buyers has been subdued until recently. But there are real signs that the tide is turning. This is noticeable amongst buy-to-let investors keen to expand their property portfolios and take advantage of booming rental demand in London. These buyers are not usually affected by interest rate rises and in fact, there are a number of market factors making this a great time for international clients to invest.
Our sales teams have been carrying out buying trips with growing numbers of overseas buyers over the last few months. We also recently attended a very successful event with investors at the Jumeirah Carlton Tower Hotel in Knightsbridge. The event, organised by UK developer, Berkeley, was very well attended and gave us the opportunity to introduce investors to some fantastic projects and discuss new developments launching soon in London. And we’re seeing growing confidence from our clients as they see developers moving up the gears now previous delayed launches are firmly back on track.
Of course, there are many reasons why London property remains such a good opportunity for overseas investors. These range from the ongoing weakness of sterling and therefore the greater affordability of London property, to the incredibly strong London rental market which is increasing rental yields. According to our recent research, rents in London are now at an average £2,193 per month, up from £1,919 last year.
London’s long-term capital growth potential is always a driving force, as are our transparent legal and financial systems and of course, the stability of UK property as an asset class.
We’ve recently carried out research looking at current overseas investment in London, looking at investors from different countries, where in London they’re investing and why.
It makes an informative read Why international investors continue to buy overseas property
A key factor is the extraordinary rental demand from professionals and international students in London, which has reached unprecedented levels. In some cases, rental properties are letting within hours of going onto our website, sometimes within minutes. Many of our lettings branches across London have waiting lists of fully referenced tenants waiting for a property, and it’s not unusual for us to receive 25 enquiries for a property within hours of it reaching our website. As a result, voids are negligible and rents are increasing, as we’ve discussed, while stock levels are limited – it’s simply a case of supply and demand.
Read our latest Rental Market update here
Many areas of London have been transformed by the completion of major transport infrastructure projects such as Crossrail (the Elizabeth Line). These ambitious projects have breathed new life into previously neglected residential and commercial landscapes, making it possible to live further out of the city while having an easier commute into central London.
New developments in Zones 4, 5 and even as far as the Thames Valley town of Reading (which has its own Elizabeth Line station) have now created high-spec accommodation options that even four or five years ago just didn’t make practical sense to Londoners. So, developments such as the Clarendon in North London, The Green Quarter and Horlicks Quarter on the fringes of West London and Oval Village in South London, have been selling very well. Grand Union, Millbrook Park and Acton Gardens in West London and Eastman Village in Harrow are also an attractive choice for investors, as too is Royal Arsenal Riverside in Woolwich, East London.
And as we see long-term renting become the ‘norm’ for many Londoners priced out of home ownership, these high quality, stylish apartment buildings are becoming an even more attractive investment choice for overseas buy-to-let landlords now expanding their portfolios after a turbulent couple of years.
We are desperate for housing stock of all sizes so if you would like to know how much your property might be worth, please contact us. Our local sales teams can provide an up to date market appraisal of your house or apartment or bring you up to date with local market conditions.
View all posts by Philip Lingard