King's Cross is the hot property tip: buy a home near a London regeneration area for the best deal - and stronger house price growth

Clever house hunters are taking advantage of the biggest new homes projects to find the best bargains in surrounding areas.
While buying into one of London’s huge regeneration schemes is often seen as a good investment, research shows that finding an older property on the fringes of such a project can be the smarter plan.
 
In four months’ time, for example, homes at the multibillion-pound King’s Cross regeneration programme will go on sale — 144 eagerly awaited new flats set inside a trio of gas holders that once dominated the area’s industrial skyline. The flats overlook Regent’s Canal and interest in the new circular buildings is expected to be high.
 
However, research by property data analyst LonRes shows that new flats in the regeneration area have performed less well than homes in more established nearby streets.
 
These “second-hand” homes might not be shiny and immaculate, but buyers don’t have to pay a premium, and the price growth of older homes can be strong — especially after a bit of smart interior improvement.

KING'S CROSS: PROPERTY AREA GUIDE


The new homes at King’s Cross are priced at an average £1,520 per square foot — compared to the £979 per square foot commanded for older homes nearby.
 
Marcus Dixon, head of research and data analysis at LonRes, says: “During the five years that the regeneration project has been running, surrounding streets have increased in value by 60 per cent, much higher than the 41 per cent achieved across Camden in the same period and 36 per cent across Greater London.”
 
Argent, the developer behind the King’s Cross project, says prices of the first homes sold on the site — the  ArtHouse block, launched in 2011 — have increased by 16.5 per cent from £890 a square foot to about £1,050 today.

TAKE A TOUR OF THE 'NEW-LOOK' KING'S CROSS:
 



It is true to say that both old and new properties in King’s Cross have done well, but older homes have edged it. Priya Pannu, a partner at estate agent Knight Frank, says the neighbourhood’s price performance has far outpaced areas such as Belgravia and Knightsbridge. 
 
“In 2013, prime central London prices grew eight per cent, and in King’s Cross by more than 17 per cent,” she says. “Last year, prime central London grew five per cent, and King’s Cross grew 12.8 per cent.”
 
The secret of King’s Cross’s success is its well-conceived overall plan embracing excellent and varied architecture, and healthy mix of use for the buildings.
 
Google has relocated to the area, and it has been joined by Central Saint Martins college, whose fashion students give the area a youthful vibe. There are also good restaurants and unmatched transport links.
 
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Close to the buzz of the King’s Cross revival: older homes nearby sell for about £979 per square foot
 
“The area has a huge range of housing stock, ranging from under £400,000 up to luxury apartments priced at over £1.5 million,” says Martin Bikhit, managing director of Kay & Co.
 
Buyers keen to coat-tail on King’s Cross’s popularity could buy an ex-council two-bedroom flat in Somers Town, just to the west, for about £500,000 or look towards leafier Barnsbury, on the Islington side of King’s Cross, where two-bedroom flats are priced at closer to £600,000.
 
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Key position: new homes in The Plimsoll Building, King’s Cross, are priced from £1.11 million to £3.46 million
 
Daniel Omell, a partner at Knight Frank, particularly recommends Keystone Crescent, where a three-bedroom terrace would cost about £1.25 million, or Ice Wharf, an older development where two-bedroom flats sell for about £800,000 to £850,000. New homes in The Plimsoll Building are priced from £1.11 million to £3.46 million.

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