News article published on: 24th June 2014
With 2014 now off the starting blocks, property professionals across the country have made their predictions as to what is in store for the property market over the next twelve months. Simon Nosworthy, head of the residential property department at Osbornes solicitors gives a rundown of areas which are predicted to be London ‘hotspots’ in 2014.
A quick snapshot of the property market tells us that activity in the housing and mortgage markets will continue to rise in 2014. A report by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) shows that almost 60 per cent more chartered surveyors across the country predict prices to continue rising throughout 2014, rather than slow down. Similarly The Council of Mortgage Lenders released their latest study collaborating that such a continued rise in the market was to be expected.
In terms of property prices the more optimistic forecasters are predicting an 8% rise in value in 2014, Those predicting growth at this level include RICS and the UK’s largest lender, Halifax.
The so called ‘frenzy’ in the London market is also fuelled by overseas investors who are buying many of the new-build homes. Overseas investors view real estate in London as a safe asset and as such developers are building and marketing properties which meet this demand.
It would seem therefore that Central London is an open playground with cash ready investors who are able to sit back and watch their investment grow in the long and short term. Interestingly the Duke of Westminster, who has topped the ten previous rich lists for UK property compiled by the Estates Gazette magazine was knocked off his perch as Britain’s wealthiest property magnate in 2013. The Duke fell to fourth behind investors from China, Hong Kong and the billionaire Reuben brothers.
If you are not an investor who cannot afford to buy in Central London (which let’s face it is the majority of us!) what other areas in London are considered as “hotspots” to buy in over 2014.
The most high profile works taking place is at Nine Elms on the South Bank, with the jewel in the crown being the revamped Battersea Power Station. Although works won’t be complete within the next 12 months we will see some serious building work taking place, going some way to shape the development which will include 16,000 new homes.
With a proposed extension to the northern line on the cards to include new stations at Wandsworth Road and Battersea Power Station the journey time to the City is reduced and the close proximity to schools and parks makes this new development is a natural addition to what is dubbed ‘nappy valley’ i.e. Wandsworth and Clapham.
The diggers are also coming to Croydon which is seeing a massive cash injection with plans for a £1bn project, led by the creation of a new Westfield shopping centre. This news has created a flurry of interest from developers who over 2014 will be busy buying up land for new developments (three of which were already completed in 2013).
In the wake of London 2012 Stratford was beckoned to become the new real estate mecca of London and although price progress has been slower than some originally forecast there are still plenty of investment opportunities to be had in the area. The athletes village is being converted into 2,800 apartments and the basketball court turned into 850 new homes. With fabulous transport connections and its proximity to Canary Wharf, expect Stratford to remain a key player in 2014.
An area of London which has up to know not received the glowing of reviews is set to reverse opinion over the next 10 years. Elephant and Castle, certainly isn’t pretty but with the ‘facelift wheels’ keenly in motion, backed up with a £1.5bn regeneration budget, this areas is prime pickings for investors looking to capitalise on great transport links and proximity to the City. To see an example of a similar regeneration of an area in recent years one only has to hop on a bus to the not so far away Peckham Rye which is now full of coffee shops and local independents.
Perhaps though, 2014 will be known as the ‘year of the suburbs’. Popular destinations for young families include Woking in Surrey, Oxted and Sevenoaks. What these three destinations all have in common is an easy commute into London and schools (both grammar and primary) which have been consistently rated as outstanding by Ofsted.
The appeal of further afield destinations such as Oxford and Cambridge is still a pull, however the reality of the increased cost in rail journeys may be a turn-off for many.
Any article would be incomplete without mention of our local North West London stomping ground.
Right next door to Camden is Kentish Town which is seeing increased activity, especially from French ex-pats who have children at the new French school. It nudges trendy Camden Town and is great for commuting to the City. The area around Gospel Oak and Oak Village has long been a favourite of creative and media types.
Archway has seen an increase in young middle-class residents, attracted by the proximity to traditionally more desirable areas such as Upper Street and Highgate, the accessibility of Hampstead Heath and Waterlow Park, and its public transport connections to central London. Residents are also attracted to its ‘edgier’ side and will be attracted to the many loft apartments still available in the area.
Even closer is the ever popular Islington with its wide assortment of accommodation, streets and green areas make for a stimulating environment, while excellent eateries, art and culture, including 3 theatre pubs and the Islington Academy add to the variety and appeal of the area.