Traditionally, the summer months are a quiet time for the London property market, with many people away on holiday and keen to kick back and enjoy the sunshine. So demand from buyers has been subdued over the last few weeks, as we would expect at this time of year.
Of course, other than Brexit, the main news recently has been Boris Johnson being elected as the UK’s new Prime Minister – and it is still too soon to know what effect he will have on the property market. There has been talk of revamping the Stamp Duty system but clearly, Brexit is taking priority at the moment so we will probably have to wait a while for the picture to become clearer. So in the meantime, investors are continuing to sit back to see how all this plays out. And while many certainly see no rush to buy, developers continue to offer good discounts and the weak pound means overseas buyers in particular are finding that London property offers exceptional value.
But London is a complex market, and in these challenging times it is important for investors to research carefully what and where to buy. While London is viewed by many as a single city, it is in fact a myriad of different boroughs and (former) villages, all with different types of property which appeal to different types of people, with widely varying budgets. The key is to know where to find value and growth potential. From Hampstead and Highgate in North London, to Knightsbridge and Kensington in central London, and from Ealing to Hammersmith and Fulham in West London, each area has very different characteristics. And of course, extensive regeneration programmes have seen East London and Docklands transformed over the last few decades and now Battersea Power Station, Nine Elms and Vauxhall are becoming the heart of a whole new neighbourhood on the fringes of central London. The London landscape is literally changing before our eyes.
Of course, a clear, long-term investment strategy is essential, alongside the support of an agent with an in-depth knowledge of the different London property markets. Purchase price, local amenities, transport links, rental demand – these are all issues that need to be evaluated, both in terms of future capital appreciation – and rental yields.
A prime example is Beaufort Park in Colindale, North London. When it was first built more than 10 years ago, Beaufort Park was an unknown prospect for many buyers who didn’t know this part of North London. And buying here might have seemed like quite a risk. But the developer, St George, had a proven track record and this was a clear indicator of the area’s potential. In fact, it was one of the first developments where Benham & Reeves set up an on-site branch back in 2008, so confident were we of the area’s prospects. The development is just a short walk away from Colindale Tube Station, so the City and West End are less than half an hour away. And Middlesex University is a few minutes away so there is excellent demand from students and professionals.
Today, the development’s reputation has spread and demand for homes at Beaufort Park is phenomenal, both from renters and homeowners, exceeding even our expectations. The latest building to launch there, the Cornelia Apartments, is completing soon and we are already receiving instructions from landlords who have just purchased properties there. And with rental demand so high, we already have fully referenced tenants waiting to move in. The developer, St George, has in effect established a whole new neighbourhood in its own right and many young professionals choose to live here for its convenience, its high spec and facilities and its affordability.
Other residential developments to watch ……
Other developments potentially at the beginning of a similar journey are White City Living and Harrow Square while Eastman Village, also in Harrow, has been selling well too. We have been offering a 5% rental guarantee to landlords here and there has been a very good take up of this offer so far.
View all posts by Philip Lingard