It’s no secret that the recent lockdowns have prompted many of us to reassess our priorities when choosing a home, as we look for more space as well as a garden or open space nearby.
For some homebuyers this has meant a property search in London’s peripheral boroughs to find the space (inside and out) that they need and can afford. For those with larger budgets, many are looking to London’s outer prime postcodes, where they can perhaps move from a central London mansion flat with no outside space, to a larger three or four bedroom home with a garden in highly affluent areas such as Hampstead or Highgate.
So there are quite dramatic shifts taking place in the property market across London, with trends emerging that we expect to grow further over the next months and maybe years.
Demand surges for homes in Hampstead and Highgate
With more space a driving factor in many property searches, larger family homes in areas such as Hampstead, Highgate, Belsize Park and Dartmouth Park are extremely sought-after. Enquiries for properties priced at £1.5m + are increasing and although we are receiving new instructions in these areas, we really need more available properties. This increasing demand is starting to push up prices locally too.
With high demand from professionals wishing to move out of central London, these larger properties are selling very quickly, usually in a week or so and mostly for full or close to asking price. Interestingly, smaller properties with no outside space are taking longer to sell and are much more price sensitive.
With lockdown restrictions due to be lifted more fully later in June, we are confident that these positive trends will continue and in fact, we expect this final easing to create an even greater, positive impact on the local market as buyers look for a genuine lifestyle change.
Increasing interest from international investors
The lifting of lockdown restrictions also means we are now seeing international investors return to the London property market. The UK’s reputation as a safe haven for investors, together with low interest rates and the continued weakness of sterling, which offers substantial cost savings to international buyers, mean investment in London property currently offers excellent opportunities and cost advantages to overseas buyers.
And with rental incomes stabilising due to the increasing rental demand from professionals returning to London after months of lockdown – as well as international students planning to return to their universities in September – mean that the outlook for the rental market is a lot brighter. As a result, many of our investor clients see this as an excellent opportunity to expand their portfolios.
In particular, we are seeing a surge in demand from investors from South East Asia, the UAE and the USA. Enquiries from Hong Kong BNO passport holders, both investors and those moving to the UK to live and make a home, are also up dramatically.
London Square Greenwich launches successfully in Hong Kong and Singapore
With confidence returning amongst international investors, another popular area is Greenwich, a historic Royal borough, a perennial favourite with London’s renters and domestic homebuyers. The SE10 postcode is known for its village-like atmosphere and open green spaces so ticks many of the boxes now so important to property buyers.
As well as its independent shops and cafes, the area is packed full of history and tradition – it’s home to the National Maritime Museum, the Cutty Sark and Greenwich Park, as well as the University of Greenwich. And its location, situated on the banks of the Thames, means many inhabitants choose to take a Thames Clipper boat service to work in either Canary Wharf or central London – you can’t beat that for the daily commute!
The attraction of Greenwich is clear to both investors buying property to rent to tenants,and to owner occupiers. And the latest residential development to launch here, London Square Greenwich, is creating a real buzz, with apartments selling quickly following recent launches in Hong Kong and Singapore.
We currently have some excellent deals available here so please do contact our sales team for more information.
A full sales, letting and property management package for investors
If you are planning to buy your first investment property in London or expand your existing portfolio, the purchase is just the first step in the process. Equally, if not more important, is furnishing the property to ensure it appeals to professional renters and lets quickly, maximising rental income.
Next comes finding a reputable tenant and carrying out reference checks to ensure they can afford the rent and will look after the property. Ongoing property management is essential to take care of your investment, from collecting the rent on your behalf to organising repairs and maintenance and taking care of other issues. It will also be a great help to find a company that can fill in your tax returns to ensure you comply with your UK tax obligations.
It’s unusual to find a property company that can take of all these issues – it’s certainly rare to find this comprehensive level of support from the sales agent that originally sold you the property.
But Benham and Reeves has over 60 years’ experience in the London lettings industry so we are in a unique position to be able to help you with all aspects of buying, furnishing and managing your London buy-to-let property.
Contact us for advice on buying a London property
View all posts by Anita Mehra