Now is the time to buy London's new-build homes off plan

Developers are in overdrive to meet rising demands, due to a new homes shortage coupled with the popular Help to Buy scheme, in the capital. We take a look at the latest new-builds and fabulous restorations.
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From £2.6 million: family homes at London Square Fulham. Call 0333 666 2737

The new-build sector pauses for breath in January as a rule, as developers wait for spring to draw home buyers out of hibernation. Buoyed by the Government’s Help to Buy low-deposit scheme, however, builders are throwing open show home doors and unveiling mock-up apartments in hastily constructed marketing suites, as the shortage of completed new homes continues to push home seekers into off-plan buying.

December saw the highest sales rate in six years, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. The momentum is expected to continue this year, bringing more price hikes, with Marylebone and the South Bank hitting the highest returns.

Today’s cost-conscious buyers want the best possible value for money in areas with growth. Developers in hot competition are coming up with low-maintenance homes with imaginative architecture, to suit most budgets.

New-build homes have become so popular that the price premium is at a new high, as much as 60 per cent more expensive than older homes of the same size in the same area, according to property adviser Knight Frank.

To find the right home at the right price, Londoners are relocating to other boroughs or crossing the river. Estate agent Winkworth, which has more than 60 branches across London, says the main flows are from north and west London to south London for   significantly cheaper family homes and new London Overground stations. This mobility is helping to revitalise areas such as Brockley. Run-down districts are opening up to homebuyers, too, with developers unlocking industrial sites, restoring railway arches and building apartments and townhouses plus offices and new parks.
Historic charm
Few London districts have the authentic, village-like charm of the Georgian conservation area that surrounds Myddelton Square in Islington. Once the heart of the now-defunct Borough of Finsbury, by the Nineties the area had lost much of its identity, eclipsed by regeneration going on around its edges at Angel, King’s Cross and Clerkenwell.

However, the pendulum has started to swing back. Look here for a central London area with character and family life: parish church, primary school, Sadler’s Wells theatre, a newly built health centre and small, independent shops for everyday needs. Two listed houses, once offices, have been restored and given a design makeover, including glass-walled rear extensions. Prices from £5.7 million. Call Savills on 020 7226 1313. And coming soon on River Street is a rare new-build scheme of six townhouses in a gated mews. Call estate agent Thomson Currie on 020 7226 0000.


From £400,000: flats at The Piano Works, in Kentish Town. Call 020 7604 3200
Family-friendly Fulham
A new private garden square, London Square Fulham, offers 40 Georgian-style townhouses and extras usually found only with apartment living — gated security, underground parking and concierge. Cars are parked in an underground garage with direct access to the houses, while pedestrians arrive via a listed double-arched entrance. The houses range from 1,400sq ft to 4,000sq ft, with three to five bedrooms and have light basements opening on to patio gardens. At the heart of each house is an oak-and-glass staircase, with surrounding open-plan living space. Prices from £2.6 million. Call developer London Square on 0333 666 2737.
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For singles, couples and second-steppers
New loft developments in London are rare these days as most of the best buildings were converted in the Nineties and Noughties, but The Piano Works in Kentish Town offers good-value spaces in a handsome Victorian factory. Prices from £400,000. Call Greene & Co on 020 7604 3200.

Balham, meanwhile — popular with young metro types who fill the bars, gastropubs and delis along the lively high road — boasts Flow, a new apartment scheme close to the lively strip and the Tube station. The flats are priced from £390,995 to £725,995. Call Bellway on 0845 548 3007.


From £1.37 million: 22 new flats in Westminster's historic core at 73 Great Peter Street, include penthouses with views to Parliament. Call 020 3053 0740
The historic core of Westminster is witnessing the biggest injection of new homes since the Edwardian mansion block boom a century ago. Traditionally favoured by MPs and senior civil servants, the attractive location and classical buildings are pulling in the buyers, with 73 Great Peter Street among smart new developments. The scheme offers 22 apartments, from studios to penthouses with views of Big Ben. Prices from £1.37 million. Call Taylor Wimpey on 020 3053 0740.
First-timers zone in
Affordable shared-ownership flats in Zone 1 are a tantalising prospect for low-budget first-time buyers. Aspire is part of a 21-storey residential tower being built above Aldgate East Tube station on the City fringe. One-bedroom homes start at £105,700 for a 35 per cent share (full price £302,000). With a five per cent deposit of £5,285, combined rent and mortgage repayments would be £849.48 a month. Call Network Living on 0844 335 2240.

From £345,000: for homes at Kew Bridge West, in Brentford, with views across the Thames to the Royal Botanic Gardens. Call 020 8662 6000
River views to Kew
The name Kew Bridge West might be slightly stretching the imagination but this cluster of new homes rising up on the Brentford bank of the Thames has views across the river to Kew’s Royal Botanic Gardens. The development’s curved, turreted style is influenced, says developer St James, by the architectural style of rural France. Prices  from £345,000. Call 020 8662 6000.
Kensington remains the location of choice for the rich and powerful despite its dreary high street. But suddenly a crop of new homes has widened the area’s draw. The Ladbroke Grove is a contemporary-design new-build scheme on the border with Notting Hill. Prices from £425,000. Call Taylor Wimpey on 020 3053 0740. Nearby is 205 Holland Park Avenue, another new-build — 41 apartments with winter gardens and roof terraces. Call Redrow on 020 3538 1841.


From £910,000: flats 375 Kensington High Street - a modern complex with 339 flats, spa, private cinema and concierge. Call 020 7118 0375
At 375 Kensington High Street is the Royal Borough’s biggest housing scheme, a complex of modern blocks with 339 flats, spa, private cinema and concierge. Prices from £910,000. Call St Edward Homes on 020 7118 0375.

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