Amid the housing market gloom, one thing is guaranteed: the 2012 Olympics in Stratford will go ahead.
Despite the credit crunch threatening to dilute the so-called legacy benefits of improved infrastructure, better amenities and thousands of new homes, east London will be a better place in four years’ time because of more than £9 billion being spent on the Games.
While the number of homes in the Olympic village is now 2,700, down by a third (these will be sold privately or rented through housing associations after the Games), another 4,500 homes are planned at Stratford City, a mixed-use development on former railway land, while there are other small schemes either under way or in the pipeline.
Stratford has been undergoing a building boom since 2005. Most recently completed flats were purchased off-plan by enthusiastic buy-to-let investors.
Justyn O’Shaughnessy, 36, who runs a property-search agency, has targeted Stratford for clients and also invested there himself. He is now taking advantage of the soft market to snap up good-value flats that he believes will “outperform” once the recovery starts.
'Stratford’s transport links are excellent, with two Tube lines, overland rail and the DLR, plus Eurostar trains'
“With the bank base rate falling dramatically, the price reductions will not last much longer. The tipping point will be when it is cheaper to buy than to rent. We are close to that point. As quickly as the market has dropped, it can rebound just as fast.”
That conviction may not be shared by other investors, especially those struggling to raise buy-to-let mortgages on soon-to-complete flats.
But with increased affordability and physical improvements to the area starting to take shape, the next tranche of homes in Stratford is likely to appeal to owner-occupiers who want to live in what will be a very different place four years from now.
Stratford’s transport links - two Tube lines, overland rail and the DLR plus Eurostar trains - are excellent. Stratford Eye is a 19-storey tower with views across the Olympic park. Two-bedroom flats are priced from £260,000 (you could always try offers below the £250,000 stamp duty threshold).
Penthouses are priced from £450,000. Developer London & Quadrant is also offering shared ownership options, starting at £70,000 for a 35 per cent share of a one-bedroom flat. Call 020 8502 5758.
The Edge, in Lett Road, will be a local landmark when complete later this year. The scheme of 64 flats includes penthouses with double-height interiors. Prices start at £250,000 for one-bedroom flats. Call Knight Frank on 020 7473 6820.
Shared ownership flats priced from £77,500 (for a 25 per cent share) are on offer at Stratford Central, a scheme of 14 two- and three-bedroom flats in the town centre. Call Genesis Homes on 0845 600 4663.
Caspian Wharf is a new scheme of 82 flats on the banks of the Limehouse Cut in Bow. This industrial waterway still has far to go in terms of regeneration, but the location is well placed between the Olympic village and Canary Wharf. Prices start at £210,000 for a studio. Call Berkeley Homes on 020 3217 1000.