More than 46,000 new homes will be completed this year in London, the highest number in any single year since the Thirties, from inner-city flats to riverside penthouses, modern townhouses, heritage conversions and handsome villas on the suburban fringe. Even “shell-and-core” flats are back, ready for owners to fit out and not seen for 20 years.
Yet despite the construction boom, many developers who have overbuilt for rich central London overseas buyers are on the back foot due to Brexit uncertainties and stamp duty hikes, meaning home buyers should be able to negotiate a discount.
Research by Oxford Economics and estate agent Savills reveals the strongest demand is for less expensive housing, priced from £250,000 to £750,000. However, the research also reveals that there are not enough homes in this “affordable” price bracket, especially for families who want to live near good schools, a new train station or green space.
But if you are a single with a decent salary — perhaps you’ve even had a rise — and you fancy a fashionable apartment in Earls Court or Nine Elms, where there is an oversupply, this is the time to start haggling.
BIG BRANDED ESTATE, OR A LITTLE BOUTIQUE BEAUTY?
Many local councils are fixing their worn-down housing stock with large multi-funded regeneration projects, offering flats for sale on fresh, rebranded estates.
At the other end of the scale, niche developers are transforming small pockets of land and turning dull commercial buildings in historic parts of London into imaginative boutique homes.
Whole new riverside districts are being created, such as Greenwich Peninsula, with thousands of homes offering a lifestyle package for the busy professional, perhaps with concierge, gym or fancy spa, underground parking, on-site food and bars, and a general sense of “place”.
However, service and leasehold charges have become prickly issues and buyers do not always want to pay for all the expensive amenities that come with homes on big, luxurious schemes. Keen to avoid such traps, they are searching for smaller units, sometimes in warehouse or commercial conversions, where they can buy a stake in the freehold and gain some degree of control over their costs.
GENEROUS GARDENS ON CHELSEA WATERFRONT
Ground-floor flats with a private garden fronting the Thames are a rare commodity in central London, but they’re being unveiled this Easter at Chelsea Waterfront, a redevelopment of listed Lots Road Power Station.
The eight-acre site has been transformed with 706 homes, lavish landscaping, three pedestrian bridges across tidal Chelsea Creek and a 650-yard riverside promenade. The gardens have up to 906sq ft of space. Prices start at £1.4 million. Call 020 7352 8852.
Coming later are apartments in two slender skyscrapers, while the power station itself, a prized relic with vast arched windows and tall twin chimneys, is being opened up with 260 flats and a covered “high street” with restaurants, cafés and shops. Completion is due in 2019.
BETHNAL GREEN FOR LESS THAN £500,000
Vyn Yard is a scheme of 16 industrial-style homes in Vyner Street, E2, a Bethnal Green hotspot where a street festival run by the local galleries takes place on the first Thursday of each month. Flats have vaulted ceilings, steel beams, brick feature walls and iPad control of heating, lighting and audiovisual entertainment. There’s a communal roof garden too. Prices from £465,000. Call 0330 221 1104.
The Gransden, close to London Fields in E8 and tipped to become a new neighbourhood hub, fuses homes and workspace with a neat, modern development of 42 flats above 23,000sq ft of studios and offices for creative-sector entrepreneurs and start-up companies. From £525,000. Call Fyfe Mcdade on 020 7613 4044.
FALL IN LOVE WITH LIFE IN BUZZING SE1
Valentine Place in the hot SE1 postcode is a low-rise scheme of 42 one- to three-bedroom apartments and mews houses, moments from the Old Vic and Young Vic theatres and less than a third of a mile from Southwark Tube and Waterloo stations. Set around a central courtyard garden, the low-key architecture blends brick and warehouse-style windows, and retains the original façade of the former bakery and dairy. Prices from £699,995 to £2,195,000. Call 020 3437 1294.
LUXURY IN SOUGHT-AFTER SPITALFIELDS
Four spacious new-build houses at Calvin Street in Spitalfields have over 2,200sq ft each, a traditional street door entrance, a large open-plan ground floor, a glass extension and separate rear yard access.
Basements provide extra height, while the master bedroom has a private terrace. And at the top of the house is a secluded roof garden. Interiors include SieMatic luxury kitchens among the latest mod cons, plus CCTV and sprinkler systems. Buyers get £5,000 towards a home cinema, and stamp duty refunds. Prices start from £2.4 million. Call 020 7749 3838.
A IS FOR ARCHITECTURE IN E2 AND N1
Long and Waterson, a scheme of 119 loft-style flats, takes its name from the site’s location at the intersection of two Shoreditch streets. A pair of Fifties warehouses is being refurbished and extended and a modern block with big steel-framed windows built alongside, each element connected by a courtyard and raised podium garden inspired by the New York High Line. It is an interesting piece of architecture, with smart interiors. There will be a below-ground spa and gym and a private cinema. From £695,000. Call Knight Frank (020 7718 5202).
Hoxton Press is being built on the site of a Victorian printworks that made lace-paper Valentines and playing cards. Two hexagonal-shaped apartment towers with 198 flats clad in Belgian bricks are super-space efficient.
Each tower incorporates a rhythmic pattern of double-aspect, recessed balconies for year-round use. A wall of sliding glass opens to the balconies.
Spacious interiors have high ceilings, pocket sliding doors and concealed storage space. Underfloor heating, oak floors, a white-lacquered kitchen and shadow-gap skirting boards create a clutter-free scheme. Prices from £615,000. Call Anthology on 020 3308 9813.
PERFECT FOR FAMILY LIFE— AND STAMP DUTY’S PAID
Ravenscourt Park is one of west London’s most family-friendly neighbourhoods, with well-kept homes in leafy conservation areas, excellent primary schools and independent shops.
Ashchurch Villas, a scheme of new-build townhouses, offers good design planning. First Base, the developer, has created 20 family houses in a gated private mews with glass-walled open-plan living areas, secluded gardens, garages, utility rooms and even self-contained annexes, ideal for an office or for a live-in nanny.
A potential stamp duty bill of £200,000-plus has deterred buyers, so the developer is offering to pay the tax, and perhaps a little more, too. Prices start from £2.25 million. Call 020 3504 4980 for more.