Two years of price falls have taken their toll on the shiny rows of new apartment blocks lining the Thames. Yet whenever people are asked where they’d most like to live, they invariably answer: “By water.”
The Battersea Reach development by St George is one of the largest of the new riverside schemes. More than 1,000 of 1,350 planned new homes have been completed so far, in modern pavilions on the site of a former gin distillery beside Wandsworth Bridge. However, with average prices of about £1,000-£1,400 per square foot, few first-time buyers without wealthy and generous parents have been able to dream of living there — until now.
Housing association Wandle has just launched 50 one- and two-bedroom flats under shared ownership, priced from £119,375 at Meridian House, where little luxuries include a 24-hour concierge and an on-site gym.
A MODERN LONDON VILLAGE
Designed by international architecture practice Broadway Malyan, the look at Battersea Reach is a slightly anonymous series of heavily glazed pavilions, but the 13-acre site is very much a modern London village, with — either open or on the way — coffee shops, restaurants, bars, shops, and even a nursery. There are 10 acres of open space in lieu of a village green, plus a 1,000ft riverside walkway.
Since the development’s closest train station is Wandsworth Town, a more accurate name might be Wandsworth Reach — Battersea Park station is about a mile away. However, Clapham Junction is an easy walk, so there is plenty of choice of places to eat, drink, shop, and hang out, and commuting is easy.
Services from Wandsworth Town to Waterloo take 14 minutes, and from Clapham Junction commuters can be at Waterloo in 10 minutes or Victoria in just eight minutes.
Battersea Reach and its fellow new developments along the Thames have been hit hard by price drops. According to a recent report by Knight Frank, resale prices of river flats between Wandsworth and Southwark have fallen by almost 10 per cent in the past year, suggesting that at the height of the prime London boom prices became seriously overinflated.
Matthew Smith, Knight Frank’s head of riverside sales, blames the falls on two successive increases in stamp duty which made buying properties worth £1.5 million or more significantly more expensive.
A SOUND INVESTMENT
He believes that the worst is now over. The year-on-year number of buyers viewing riverside properties was up by a resounding 96 per cent in the last three months of last year, as the gap narrowed between what buyers are willing to pay and what sellers are willing to accept.
Of course shared ownership exists in something of a microclimate of its own. Higher stamp duty does not impact these properties, and the sheer scarcity of homes should see prices rise in the short and medium term: only 158 of the 1,083 homes built so far at Battersea Reach are shared ownership.
Wandle’s one-bedroom flats start at £119,375 for a 25 per cent share. As well as mortgage repayments, buyers will need to pay £142.55 a month in service charges and £820.70 in rent on the portion of the property they do not own.
Two-bedroom flats start at £161,250 for a 25 per cent share. The service charges on these larger homes rises to £217.75 a month, and the monthly rent is £1,108.59.
WHAT ELSE CAN I BUY NEARBY?
Riverside prices have wobbled in the last year, but the trajectory of prices in SW18 overall is upward. The average price in the postcode in January 2015 was just under £640,000, according to Rightmove. Within two years this had increased to just over £707,000.
So SW18 isn’t the postcode to look for bargain basement prices, although homes away from the riverside are about 50 per cent cheaper than those with water views.
KFH has a two-bedroom flat in Treport Street, Earlsfield, for £495,000 and Cluttons has a two-bedroom apartment in Marcus Street for £500,000. One-bedroom period flats are priced at about £400,000.
Beyond Battersea Reach the area’s biggest development is The Ram Quarter, the historic Young’s Brewery site in Wandsworth. Life Residential has a new one-bedroom flat in the development for £485,000. An ex-local authority one-bedroom flat in a low-rise development would cost about £300,000 to £320,000.