London Property Finder

Summer Market Update

London Property Finder

Summer Market Update

Landmark Month for Perrygate 

Perrygate recently had its best month since opening in 2018. In the space of 30 days, we transacted on just shy of £6m of prime London property with significant savings achieved on all purchases. While these are no doubt modest numbers compared to larger buying agents,  it felt like a milestone for our small family business. We are delighted with how clients are responding to our approach and the results we are achieving for them in a complex marketplace.  

It is always a privilege to be entrusted to oversee what is typically one of the most important purchases in someone’s life. To better reflect our ethos to “treat each purchase as if it were our own”, this year we reduced the number of clients we work with at any time from six to four. In the coming years, Perrygate will remain a boutique firm with a first-class network to deliver the best service possible for a small handful of clients. 

The London Market – Contrasting Fortunes 

It’s no secret that the UK property market is experiencing a boom. Nationwide recently reported annual house price growth at 13.4% – the highest level in seventeen years. 

In London, however, the picture is less clear with average house price growth at 5% and significantly lower in Prime Central London – around 0.3%. The lack of international buyers is being felt keenly in central London,  especially for £1m+ one and two bedroom flats. Our searches for smaller central flats have been notably less frantic than for family homes in ‘London Villages’ such as Dulwich and Hampstead.  When international buyers, students, domestic workers and tourists return to London, we expect to see the performance gap between central flats and family homes start to narrow. Several clients are taking the same view and are looking to take advantage of a quiet market to acquire compact but very well located London homes.

Relative Underperformance of London Flats vs Terraced Houses (Source: Land Registry

The Stamp Duty Holiday in Context 

Many have attributed UK house price growth to government stimulus via the Stamp Duty tax break. The SDLT Holiday has clearly boosted sentiment nationwide but we would argue its partial end will not have a huge impact on the market.

Knight Frank reported eleven countries, including the US and Canada, outperformed the UK last year. It is fair to infer that while the Stamp Duty Holiday has clearly had an impact, low interest rates and people reassessing their living situation during Covid are the key driving factors. 

Property – The Ultimate Inflation Hedge?

There is increasing scrutiny of the Bank of England’s assessment that the current inflation spike is “temporary” and a small increase in interest rates may not stem the tide.

Historically, property has been an excellent hedge against inflation. Rents tend to increase in line with inflation and at a time of devaluing currencies, housing remains a tangible and limited commodity. 

This year, we have worked with several clients wary of frothy equity markets and looking for a safe long-term haven for their capital. As a further hedge, some clients able to pay cash are opting to mortgage at low fixed rates. A prolonged inflationary period will erode the real value of the debt but of course figures should be stress-tested against a potential change of course from the BoE’s rate setting committee. 

The Rise of Off Market but Buyer Beware

Hamptons International recently reported more off market transactions in the first quarter of 2021 for any period since 2007. It makes up a significant part of our business, especially at higher budget levels. 

While there are exceptional off market properties, much like the open market, there is also a lot of poor stock. If you peak behind the curtain, you may sometimes be underwhelmed! From our experience the best off market listings come from vendors mindful of privacy and not those testing the market’s reaction to speculative asking prices. 

Going the Extra Mile

Since starting the business, Lara and I have always prided ourselves on building long-term relationships with clients and being on hand well after completion. We frequently work with clients at no extra cost for months after our success fee has been paid.  

In the last few months, Perrygate’s complimentary aftercare services have included:

– a two month process of organising design meetings, sourcing architect quotes and defining the scope for a full renovation of a family home in Hampstead.

– conducting a rental search under time pressure for clients who have successfully used our Buying Service. 

– sourcing an interior designer for a large lateral flat a client purchased in South Kensington. Assisting with numerous other personal affairs for the same client. 

– assisting an overseas client set-up their tax and financial affairs in the UK post-completion. 

We hope our approach will allow us to build long-term relationships with our clients and continue to rely on word-of-mouth referrals for new business. 

If you are looking to buy in London in 2021 or beyond or simply have any questions about the market, don’t hesitate to get in touch on +44 (0)208 0880 522 or [email protected]

Up and coming areas in London

January Market Recap: Market Liftoff?

January Market RECAP: MARKET LIFTOFF?

In our 2020 predictions for the London market last month we wrote:

“On balance, we would be very surprised if the Spring market is not significantly busier than 12 months earlier.” 

This is already proving to be the case and the market is springing back to life again with vendors and buyers returning in numbers. Since Lara and I founded Perrygate in late 2018, December and January have been our two busiest months. The election result has released significant pent up demand which has been gradually building over the last three years.  Domestic and international buyers we are working with feel London now represents real value compared to other global cities and that the ongoing uncertainty surrounding Brexit negotiations is ‘priced in’.   As a boutique family buying agency who only works with a select number of clients, we even took the decision to close our lettings service to meet growing demand from buying clients and make the business offering even more focused. 

Whilst we are bullish on market activity, we are still taking a wait and see approach regarding the direction of achieved sold prices. According to Rightmove’s London Index, asking prices in greater London increased by 2.1% in January – the largest ever recorded increase for this time of the year. There is a danger that the gap between buyer and vendor expectations may widen in some cases.  Based on our recent observations and negotiations in the market, sales are being agreed at sensible prices and there is room for negotiation. For those looking to move before the Spring, there has been a welcomed 19% increase in sales compared to a year ago. 

We are certainly not offering more for properties compared to in 2019 but our clients now have greater choice – albeit with increasing competition! 

If you would like to discuss your property search with Perrygate, email us at [email protected] or call 0208 0880 522.

Is now a good time to buy in London

2020 Property Predictions

London Property PREDICTIONS 2020

2019 was as a year of political and economic uncertainty causing low transactions and limited housing stock. Are we in for more of the same in 2020? 

Perrygate is not expecting dramatic changes this year but we are looking forward to a busier market than 2019 with more buyers and sellers taking action. 

Here are some of our key predictions for buying property in central London in 2020.

Less political uncertainty means a modest increase in housing stock. 

Throughout 2019, many of our clients feared a Corbyn government even more than a potential hard Brexit. Proposed hard-left policies including seizing 10% of publicly listed companies and forcing private landlords to sell to tenants understandably caused concern. The Conservative’s overwhelming December election victory has prevented this worst case scenario and provides the certainty that they are set to govern until at least 2025. For many international buyers already benefiting from favourable exchange rates, this election result was enough to complete on purchases or start searches this year with an eye to quickly exchange contracts. 

Of course the election result is just one factor to unlocking the slow market. Brexit is a far more complex process which will continue to cause uncertainty throughout 2020 – but hopefully to a lesser extent than last year.  Although the UK is set to leave the EU by the end of this month, we expect many domestic buyers and vendors to remain on the sidelines whilst the post-Brexit economy takes shape. 

On balance, we would be very surprised if the Spring market is not significantly busier than 12 months earlier. Stable low-interest rates combined combined with current wage growth will see more buyers come out of hiding. 

Best-in-class properties to continue to sell quickly. Organisation is key. 

The top 10% of any property type (whether that be a Kensington mews or a 1 bed flat in Notting Hill) are not staying on the market for long – if they are reasonably priced inline with recent sold prices (not asking prices!). Competing bids at this end of the market are still common and giving the estate agent/vendor the security of working with a serious buyer can make all the difference. On several occasions in 2019,  our retained clients secured a property partly because they were well-organised and financing/surveyor/solicitor were in place before an offer was made. 

In a quieter market, off market has a key role. 

Whilst we expect the market to pick-up this year we are still expecting lower than average transaction figures. This means off market listings will remain important for buyers – particularly for purchases above £2m in prime central London. Prime vendors do not want the time their property is taking to sell and every price reduction detailed on Rightmove. There will be more vendors leaving details behind estate agent desks looking to be matched with discreet, organised buyers.

Off plan and new builds present opportunities.

We have previously covered issues with London’s off plan market but feel there are now opportunities. Towards the end of 2019, we negotiated discounts on off plan property in central areas up to 15% – delivering a very competitive price per square foot. Many developers have quarterly financial targets and cashflow pressures so there are opportunities to secure a fair price. Due diligence in off plan is vitally important, especially where there are limited direct comparables and high service charges have to be factored into the overall value.  Many off plan listings are still wildly overpriced however. We were recently quoted £5m for a fairly uninspiring 3 bedroom flat in one development which we would have struggled to value at half that amount. Some developers are still trying to market such schemes to overseas buyers and take advantage of a lack of local knowledge. 

Looming tax changes for international buyers.

The upcoming Conservative budget may bring a further stamp duty tax for non-UK tax resident buyers. The policy was announced in November but there is only limited detail at this stage. If this policy comes into effect later this year it is unclear what impact it will have on London’s prime housing market where international buyers are very active. We are working with some buyers looking to achieve quick exchanges before this potential tax change plays out.

At a time where buyer ands seller expectations are often very different, a buying agent can play a key role representing their client and helping them achieve a fair price for the right property and crucially, getting a sale over the line. 

If you are planning to buy a property in London in 2020 and would like to discuss your search with us? Please get in touch. 

Perrygate is not a financial advisor and anyone considering purchasing UK property must undertake their own due diligence. The opinions expressed in this and other articles are the personal opinions of staff at Perrygate and are not investment advice. The value of an investment may go up or down. Please see our Terms of Use  for more information.

Up and coming areas in London

Up and Coming Areas in London

Whilst many of our clients favour more traditional prime central London areas, others always have an eye out for the next ‘Clerkenwell’ or ‘Whitechapel’.

Predicting the next ‘hot’ area is not an exact science but here are five places we expect to perform strongly over the next decade. Some of these neighbourhoods don’t have the best of reputations whilst others are well established but we see them all going from strength to strength.

For more London areas with investment potential, take a look at our article on Place to Invest in London.

Acton

Compared to its more expensive West London neighbour Chiswick, Acton offers excellent value to first-time buyers even if it’s a little rough around the edges. The area is already well connected on The Central Line and Acton Main Line will be next to Paddington and Bond Street on the Crossrail route. 

Ealing Council are knocking down the huge post-war South Acton Estate and replacing it with the £600m South Acton Gardens scheme – one of the biggest regeneration projects in the capital which will deliver over 1500 homes and other amenities.

Buying Tip: There are still good value properties in easy walking distance of Acton Mainline’s Crossrail station – buyers focusing on refurbishing old housing stock could see a significant uplift over the next few years.

Battersea 

Home to the landmark billion pound Battersea Power Station and Nine Elms  developments which will not only bring luxury homes to the area but a strong mix of retail and leisure space. The Northern Line extension will finally connect SW11 to the tube with two new stations opening in 2020. Battersea is just a short walk across The Thames from upmarket Chelsea and we wouldn’t be surprised if the pricing gap between the two narrows in the coming years. 

Buying Tip: Focus on existing period property – especially sizeable mansion block flats in the areas bordering Battersea and central Wandsworth. Some of these properties are trading at significantly lower prices than 12 months ago whilst the new builds grab all the headlines. 

Poplar

Situated just north of Canary Wharf , regeneration schemes are in place to make the two areas better connected. With Canary Wharf’s working population exceeding even The City of London, the area will appeal to staff looking for an easy commute. 

Buying Tip: Roads like Woodstock Terrace have flats in well maintained Georgian terraces within 15 minutes walking distance of Canary Wharf at around the £500,000 mark.

Ealing 

Probably the most established neighbourhood on our list. Ealing has been a long-standing favourite amongst families due to its large suburban homes, excellent schools and parks. Although it is quite a distance from central London, the arrival of two Crossrail stations will actually make the area better connected to many key commuting areas than many more central neighbourhoods . A journey from Ealing Broadway to Tottenham Court Road will only take 12 minutes and residents will even be able to go from (far) West London to Whitechapel in the East in just 20 minutes. 

ffffThe council and major developers like British Land are partnering on major new schemes and regenerating the high street. 

Buying Tip:  Treelined roads such as Woodville Road have fantastic period properties and are relatively peaceful despite being less than 10 minutes from Ealing Broadway Station. Prices per square foot are very competitive compared to more central areas. 

South Kilburn 

Situated near Maida Vale and within walking distance of Hampstead- South Kilburn is an area primed for further growth. A 15 year masterplan is underway for the area which will include improvements to public realm, new schools, a large urban park and 2,400 new homes. 

Buying Tip: The South Kilburn Masterplan is available online. Buyers looking to benefit from the uplift in the area without waiting for the developments to complete can focus on properties on the periphery of the masterplan.

Perrygate is not a financial advisor and anyone considering purchasing UK property must undertake their own due diligence. The opinions expressed in this and other articles are the personal opinions of staff at Perrygate and are not investment advice. The value of an investment may go up or down. Please see our Terms of Use  for more information. 

Best Area to Live in London

Best Area to Live in London?

BEST AREA TO LIVE IN LONDON?

Best Area to Live in London

We’re often asked where are the best areas to rent or buy in London. Of course this depends on the individual but here are five of our personal favourites that we’re always delighted to be showing clients around. 

 

BERMONDSEY 

Voted by The Sunday Times as the best London area in 2018. Bermondsey is an eclectic area with picturesque hidden walkways, industrial buildings and beautiful riverside apartments. There is a large variety of independent businesses and the world famous Borough Market is on its doorstep. 
 
Situated by London Bridge station, the area has fantastic transport links and the City of London is just a short walk across the Thames. 

Property Notes: The Shad Thames neighbourhood has hundreds of fantastic converted apartments which benefit from heigh ceilings and are larger than average. 

Also Consider: Nearby Southwark also sits by the River Thames and has undergone similar regeneration over the past decade.  

Best Area to Live in London
Shad Thames

HAMPSTEAD

One of the capital’s most exclusive areas, Hampstead Village is a long-standing favourite with celebrities and American expats living in the capital. The area is well connected but its cobbled streets, leafy avenues and cosy pubs make it seem a world away from central London. Hampstead Heath is one of London’s largest ancient parks to lose yourself in and offers stunning views across the city. 

Property Notes: Hampstead is home to some of the most expensive real estate in the world, not just London. This is partly due to the larger number of detached houses which have remained as family homes and command a much higher price per square foot. Expect to pay a further premium for property in the middle of Hampstead Village or facing the Heath. 

Also Consider: Highgate Village to the North of Hampstead Heath has a similar feel – the two areas even share a local newspaper. 

London Property Consultancy
Hampstead Heath
Best Area to Live in London

THE CITY OF LONDON

The City of London is London’s historic financial district and home to many of the world’s largest finance and law firms. Its ever-rising skyline gives the area a unique feel compared to its more traditional neighbours. The City has managed to keep its charm with centuries old pubs and churches rubbing shoulder to shoulder alongside some of Europe’s tallest skyscrapers. 

The Square Mile stretches from Chancery Lane in the West to Aldgate East and is served by several tube stations. 

Property Notes: The City of London does not have the largest amount of housing stock and what there is comes at a premium. The area has around 10,000 residents but 300,000 commuters! There are several residential towers such as The Heron which are aimed at the luxury end of the market and those wanting as short a commute as possible from the office.  The iconic Brutalist housing development and arts centre The Barbican is definitely worth a visit even if you don’t want to live there.

Also Consider: For those wanting a similarly modern neighbourhood with a greater selection of new builds, try London’s second financial district – Canary Wharf.

CLERKENWELL

For our money, one of the capital’s most underrated areas. Clerkenwell boasts a fantastic range of architecture from medieval chapels to cutting edge modernist builds. Clerkenwell is home to a thriving creative sector with hundreds of design and furniture firms echoing the area’s manufacturing history.

The area is also home to the fantastic Exmouth Market which has a great range of dining options. 

Nearby Farringdon station is on the Crossrail route and will give residents even quicker access to the rest of London.  St Paul’s Cathedral and the River Thames are just a short walk away. 

Property Notes: Many former warehouses and schools in the area have been converted into tasteful apartments which have retained a lot of their original features. Local planning officers been more lenient towards experimental architecture and there are a lot of unique new builds in the area. 

Also Consider:  Whitechapel has a similar mix of heritage and modernity and also attracts young professionals in the creative sectors. 

Best Area to Live in London
Best Area to Live in London

Islington

One of our favourite North London areas. From the picturesque Regent’s Canal, elegant Georgian Squares to the bustling Angel – Islington offers something for everyone. 

The area is home to several arts centres and theatres such as The Almeida. Camden Passage is popular with locals and has a fantastic selection of independent shops and cafes.

Property Notes: Islington has a mix of period property and new builds offering something for everyone. The area surrounding Regents Canal provides a nice contrast to the bustling Upper Street and has fantastic Georgian terraces and garden squares. 

Also consider: Camden and the area around Mornington Crescent station has a similar vibe. 

Interested in buying or renting in London? Contact us today for a free consultation and no-obligation quote.

For our guide on How To Rent in London, click here.