According to official figures just out, the average UK house price was £294,000 in December 2022 – down from £296,000 in November 2022. However, this is £26,000 higher than the same period a year ago. So, what does this tell us as we emerge from a winter of high bills and inflationary pressures? What’s immediately apparent is that the UK economy continues to be anchored by the strength and stability of its Capital.
All global cities are fuelled by high achievement and corporate excellence, with the brightest and the best fully expecting to thrive. In London, such progress is directly mirrored by the activity and health of its property market. As we reach the middle of Q1, it’s quite evident that the Tech boom is entering a more mature phase, but as usual in the Capital, when one door closes, another one is bound to spring open.
Some of the biggest new post-pandemic growth areas are now in higher education, bio sciences and immunology and this bodes very well for property sales. This is because the 2,000 research bodies that are London-based are expected to attract over £2bn worth of funding. This is money that will go on top salaries and high-end accommodation. Many graduates from the eighteen world class universities that call London their home, are already making plans to put down roots and invest in their futures.
Already this new energy is making its presence felt. Apartments are back in demand in prime central London as overseas buyers make a welcome return. Almost 69% of properties we sold during Q4 were flats. These investors have been delighted to find prices pretty much the same as when they left them. As the overall UK economy jogs along at close to zero percent growth, the London engine is starting to rev up and a 2-3% mini growth spurt is expected to keep things ticking along as Spring approaches.
The walk-to-work convenience of locations close to the West End such as Paddington are currently attracting plenty of interest. We’ve sold a couple of apartments at Sheldon Square, a Canalside development that straddles Tube zones 1 & 2. The development remains popular with investors owing to negligible voids and good rental demand.
At Fulham’s Imperial Wharf and a handful of new-build apartments in Nine Elms we have concluded some successful second-hand sales. Their riverside locations prompted most sellers to stick to their guns, pricewise. We have also just received instructions for two apartments at Chelsea Creek which we hope will attract buyers very soon.
In Highgate, North London, we’ve sold a pair of older conversions that were in need of modernisation. Although local homeowners are willing to do this in properties they live in, not all landlords have the finances to bring a property completely up to date with current legislation. Instead, they are re-investing in more affordable new-build locations such as Woodberry Down and Clarendon – two developments that offer good yields. in Dartmouth Park NW5, we sold a lovely mansion flat that went quickly once listed and we have waiting lists here for flats and houses across most price-points.
Neighbouring Hampstead and Primrose Hill are both areas where you can regularly find what some people call their “Forever Home”. Buyers are willing to exceed their budget in order to get what they want. We had one such situation recently, where a garden flat in Pilgrims Lane attracted six serious buyers. As sole agents, we were able to secure a sale that was well above the asking price. We are also seeing the return of the super-solvent first time buyer as parents release wealth early, rather than leaving it to the taxman. As a result, there has been plenty of interest in one-bedroom flats in Hampstead.
Colindale NW9 continues to be a happy hunting ground for overseas investors with 2 bed 2 bath apartments leading the way. Most purchasers are buying for rental purposes and not dependent on mortgage loans; a fact that keeps the local rental market buoyant and relatively fast moving. Homeowner activity has gone down a little here due to higher interest rates impacting affordability, but we still managed to exchange on several apartments as more people discover the convenience of the area.
As usual, our international offices have been kept extremely busy. One of their outstanding success stories has been the Swiss Alps scheme, Andermatt. Marketed by our Hong Kong and Singapore teams, its new phase ‘Mona’ is being introduced for off-plan bookings now. Presented as an all-year-round destination, rather than just another ski resort, it’s excellent for holiday use. Golf-lovers and for investment diversification.
For investors who have their financing in place, we have some very good opportunities we can introduce to you. These are new-build developments nearing completion or having recently completed with guaranteed rental yields. Please talk to our International office sales teams or email us for more information.
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