DEVELOPERS TARGET UK BUYERS
London’s housing stock like London’s infrastructure and transport links has benefitted from considerable improvement and investment over the past 20 years and London buyers are now able to choose from a wide range of superbly fitted and finished luxury apartments in well crafted developments featuring landscaping, comfort cooling and resident services.
In 2014 there was a shift by developers and house builders to offer the domestic buyer off plan opportunities to secure a new apartment ahead of and in many instances instead of overseas buyers. The take up by London buyers was significant but with completion dates often running into 2016 and 2017, majority of off plan sales were to investors and not owner-occupiers.
The significant increases in the marketing of off plan developments resulted in very full property supplements in the national and London press in what became an increasingly overcrowded market. This of course was great news for buyers and centrally located developments attracted buyers with higher budgets across Midtown, City and docklands in 2014 as buyers sought out and demanded higher quality homes.
A consequence of the increase in supply coupled with pricing that often overshot the resale market by some 10-15% was a slowdown in the sale rate of new homes that resulted in prolonged marketing campaigns often spread out over the majority of the year. Developers adapted to the change in market conditions and built in longer marketing programmes which had a cost impact in most instances but was the preferred route rather than reducing prices to increase sales rates.
As already reported sales of entry level homes up to £1 million were in demand during 2014 but larger new apartments, penthouses and town houses took much longer to find buyers. as prices broke through the £1,000/sqft barrier and sales rates slowed, developers land-buying requirements refocused on sites in City fringe and outer London locations that would support sales at between £750 and 950/sq ft. There was a realisation that London buyers would have to compromise on location as central London prices became less affordable to the UK buyer.
The future of Permitted development rights beyond the current deadline in 2016 is now likely to be dependent on the outcome of the General election.
New development launches were fewer in number in the second half of 2014 but all benefited from the combination of strong locations, high specification and long completion dates.
A standout success in the second half of 2014 was the launch of Barts Square EC1 at little Britain next to St Bartholomew Hospital by Helical Bar in September. it has been reported that 50 sales out of the first phase release of 88 units had exchanged contracts at prices averaging £1,600/sq ft, the majority to UK purchasers. In total there will be 235 apartments spread across 19 buildings making this a very London scale development. Buyers are able to visit a marketing office at West Smithfield that demonstrates not only the finishes within the apartments but also reinforces the history of the site and the connectivity of the location with Crossrail due to open at Farringdon in 2018.
In September Brookfield Europe and Concord Pacific launched Principal Tower, Bishops Place EC2 a 50 story luxury block of 243 apartments with construction due to start in Q1 2015 with first phase asking prices reported to average £1,580/sqft
Also in September we launched a development of 8 penthouse apartments all with terraces at The Spitfire Building, Collier Street, Kings Cross N1 above a refurbished office building. Over one weekend we sold all 8 two bedroom apartments for prices ranging from £725,000 to £925,000 many at above the asking prices, which demonstrates the strength of the market at under £1 million.
At Rathbone Square, Rathbone Place W1 Great Portland street estates announced that it had sold 125 of the 142 apartments off plan by October with prices averaging £1,856/sqft. Sales were conducted both in the UK and overseas and completion is expected in 2017.
In Wapping st George central london launched Admiralty Wharf, London Dock, Pennington Street E1 the former HQ of news international with prices from £829,950 for one bedroom apartments and £999,999 for two bedroom apartments.
In Bloomsbury we launched a development of 8 spacious one and two bedroom apartments with spectacular views towards the West end, Primrose Hill and the City in august at 21 John Street WC1 for Jaspar Homes. By the end of year 4 flats had been sold at prices ranging from £850,000 for a one bedroom apartment to £1,900,000 for a two bedroom apartment.
Nearby a block of 14 apartments at Chancery Quarter, Grays Inn Road WC1 close to Chancery Lane underground station was sold in November, together with the ground floor retail spaces to an overseas investor. Hurford Salvi Carr and CBRE represented the developer Midtown Capital.
Telephone: 020 7250 1012
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