The final, frenetic run-up to Christmas is not the greatest time to house hunt. Agents, developers and housing associations tend to work on the principle that buyers are far too busy partying and panicking over preparations to have time to go on viewings and make major life decisions.
But first-time buyers who would like to be on their way to a new home by the year’s end are always keen to view, and the last weeks of December often throw up good price reductions as sellers, desperate to move on, will offer a deal for a quick completion to a chain-free buyer with their deposit sorted.
SHARED-OWNERSHIP HOMES IN TOP REGENERATION HOTSPOTS
1. Docklands/east London
There are some great options here from £122,500, whether you are a wannabe hipster, aspire to a garden square home, or are a fan of vertical living.
For fans of regeneration zones, with their promise of price growth, they don’t come much bigger than the Royal Docks of east London.
The docks will, eventually, be home to 24,000 new homes, and you could buy in on the ground with a home at Royal Dock Gardens by housing association East Thames (east-thames.co.uk). Prices start at £122,500 for a 35 per cent share of a one-bedroom flat with a full value of £350,000
2. Canary Wharf
If you would prefer to live within walking distance of Canary Wharf — another location to benefit from the imminent arrival of the Elizabeth line — site sales has shared flats at the glam, 31-storey Dollar Bay tower, which is set just at the point where South Dock meets the Thames and has amazing views over the river towards the 02 Arena.
One-bedroom flats start at £218,000 for a 40 per cent share, with two-bedroom flats from £206,250 for a 25 per cent share. Priority will go to those already living in Tower Hamlets.
Dalston has joined the ranks of hipster hotspots over the last few years, with price rises to match. If you want to dine in a pop-up restaurant — and, if applicable, grow a beard — Currell has three-bedroom flats at Dalston Curve priced from £187,500 for a 30 per cent share.
The monthly rent comes in at £1,003, and owners will also need to pay a service charge of £222, and mortgage repayments estimated from £881, bringing total costs per month to just over £2,100.
Dalston Curve is a modern, low-rise block right on Kingsland High Street, so forget about throwing open your windows to enjoy the fresh air and peace and quiet.
On the other hand there is a wide choice of bars, clubs and restaurants on the doorstep, and you are close to Dalston Junction and Dalston Kingsland Overground stations.
Not all buyers are at a stage in life where a one- or two-bedroom flat will do the job. At Prospect East in Stratford (prospecteast.co.uk), another East Thames development, there are some rarer three-bedroom homes up for grabs.
In the years since the 2012 Olympics, Stratford has rapidly matured as a great location to live, with excellent public transport links — including the Elizabeth line in 2018 — a major public park, landmark sports facilities, new bars and restaurants, and Westfield Stratford City shops. To come are new museums and theatres at Olympicopolis, plus lots more housing.
A recent report by JLL forecast that prices in Stratford will increase 20 per cent over the next four years, making it a more than reasonable investment.
For buyers who can’t wait for a regeneration to take shape, and prefer a leafier vibe, Chiswick Gate, a new development by Berkeley Homes, might be the ideal solution.
This medium-size scheme with a total of 172 new homes is an upmarket affair, modelled on a traditional garden square, with full market prices reaching up to almost £2.6 million.
Thames Valley Housing now has one-bedroom flats for sale at Chiswick Gate priced from £159,000 for a 30 per cent share of a property with a full price of £530,000. Minimum monthly costs will total about £1,400 including rent at £680, service charge at £200 and mortgage repayments of £530, based on a 35-year mortgage.
Thames Valley Housing will be selling two- and three-bedroom flats next year. The location is lovely, seconds from Chiswick House and Gardens, and an easy walk to the bars and restaurants of Chiswick High Road.
Turnham Green Tube station is close, on the District and Piccadilly lines in Zone 2.
Launching in January is Bedford Road, another medium-size development in a prime location with Clapham Common around the corner, and Clapham High Street and Clapham North stations, both Zone 2, on the doorstep.
Clapham High Street and old town are an easy stroll for all the cafés, bars and restaurants you could wish for.
Site sales has a handful of shared-ownership homes available at the development, priced from £170,000 for a 40 per cent share of a one-bedroom flat with a full value of £425,000, and £218,000 for 40 per cent of a two-bedroom flat worth £545,000.
Shared-ownership properties in this affluent corner of south London, sandwiched between Brixton and Battersea, are extremely rare. Interested buyers should register now and keep their eyes peeled for the official launch.
Be warned: those who tend to spend January recovering from the excesses of the festive season risk being left out in the cold.