Flat Prices Up, House Prices Down: Sales Volumes Focused On apartments


Here in the Capital, contrary to recent ‘price cut’ headlines that have appeared in some publications, we have seen PCL (Prime Central London) prices reach new heights in the same period.

As regular readers will know, we firmly believe that international investors’ understandable focus on high-end new developments continues to highlight the relative value in London’s existing housing stock.  W3b25843rhile foreign investors push prices up in off-plan and newly-built property, potential owner-occupiers could do worse than to start their search in alternative markets. This view is further supported by industry figures showing apartment sales in a number of PCL boroughs up 32% for the year-to-date, with house sales falling 21% at the same time.

From a supply perspective, as long as new developments continue to trickle through at the present rate, demand will fail to be met across the majority of London and particularly in the sub-£2m bracket. Complex, cumbersome planning regulations remain a significant barrier in their current state, and ultimately inhibit an increase in supply at the level and rate required.

Elsewhere, the growth in our Managed Sale service reflects not just the strength of our reputation, but also the simple but powerful truth that managing a sale remotely is not just stressful, but also difficult and time-consuming. We continue to offer exceptional expertise across all major property services, boasting a broad and detailed knowledge-base that consistently informs the advice we give our clients.

Wider UK Housing Market Now Outpacing Prime Central London (PCL) Property

One_Hyde_Park_007Industry news has been dominated in recent weeks by the sale of Penthouse D in London’s iconic One Hyde Park development for £140m in ‘core and shell’ state, making it the city’s most valuable property, with or without internal walls. The price is evidence that even at the very top end of London property, there are still international buyers – in this case as unnamed Eastern European – looking to diversify and protect their wealth by investing in the capital’s real estate.

Despite the strengthening pound making inward investment comparatively more expensive for most international buyers, prime Central London (PCL) property prices have continued to rise in recent weeks as increasing interest from both foreign investors and domestic owner occupiers energises the market. In stark contrast to the early stages of the post-financial crisis rally, however, it is secondary London locations including Wapping and Canary Wharf that are now pacing property price gains in the capital.

Within Central London, the discrepancy in recent price performance is now increasingly pronounced. Marylebone, good value in the context of PCL, saw prices rise 4.2% in Q1 and some 19.3% in the year to end-March. By contrast, prices in Chelsea, Knightsbridge and Belgravia rose just 0.6% in the first three months of 2014 and only 5% in the twelve months to end-March.

The strength in these secondary areas partly reflects the greater influence of domestic buyers and partly the changing mood of investors seeking better value. Buoyed by low interest rates, wage growth and a broader economic recovery that is gathering pace, house prices across the UK have continued their recent positive momentum.

According to Nationwide, house prices across the UK rose 1.2% in April and some 10.9% in the year to end to April, the first time that annual price growth has reached double figures since 2010. Meanwhile, the latest lending volumes figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders show mortgage levels in the UK a staggering 43% higher than a year ago, fueled in no small part by the government’s Help to Buy scheme.

Battersea Power Station

Battersea Power Plant London’s Battersea Power Station developer plans to sell luxury apartments for as much as 30 million pounds each, anticipating buyers will pay a premium to own prominent pieces of the historic building.

Battersea Project Holding Co. bought the Battersea site for 400 million pounds last year after its previous owner was put into administration, a U.K. form of bankruptcy protection. They will begin by selling 250 apartments at 2,500 pounds a square foot in April. The estimated price of a penthouse, to be built in the second phase of construction, is 25 to 30 million pounds.

The Battersea plant is Europe’s largest brick building and built in the 1930s consists of four 350-foot-high smokestacks, it is an investment that comes with the opportunity to own a genuine piece of British history in a unique location. The development is part of the Vauxhall Nine Elms Battersea Opportunity Area south of the River Thames and across from the Kensington & Chelsea and Westminster boroughs. It’s the U.K. capital’s largest redevelopment area and includes a new U.S. embassy and an extension of the London Underground.

The developer’s Malaysian roots may help it reach Asian buyers who have been snapping up London new homes following property curbs in their home country. Two-thirds of new London homes sold before completion are being purchased by Southeast Asian buyers. Measures taken by Singapore and Hong Kong to cool their housing markets have prompted buyers to seek investments abroad.Luxury-home developers are planning to build more than 20,000 properties in London over the next decade. The Battersea development has about 6,000 registered customers and there’s no risk of oversupply of luxury apartments in the area. The project’s first phase was sold in excess of 1,000 pounds a square foot and the third phase is expected to come to market in September next year at 1,800 pounds a square foot.

Off plan property is once again becoming a darling child of the property investor’s arsenal (read a previous blog post here explaining how it works) and we are in a position to provide advice and opportunities in Greater London with percentage discounts into double figure. Contact me for further information.