The average prices of a home in the south-west London borough of Wandsworth is now £447,888 — an increase of more than £40,000 in 12 months.
The Land Registry has highlighted soaring prices in Wandsworth but every London borough has seen some rises with Hammersmith and Fulham, Merton and Camden getting into double figures, which suggests the “doughnut” of boroughs circling prime central London are enjoying a strong recovery from the recession.
Wandsworth estate agent Clifford Harvey, director of aspire put a four-bedroom Victorian house in Balham on the market for £950,000 on June 10 with an open day. Some 15 people attended, six made offers and the house was sold for more than £40,000 over the asking price on June 11.
Harvey believes there are a “multitude” of reasons why Wandsworth is attracting buyers: low council tax, improving schools, good train links to the city, quality shops, bars, cafés and restaurants, and green space.
He also feels that the icy winter meant that vendors delayed putting their homes on the market, giving the area a strong late spring boost. “It is also a lot cheaper than places just north of the river,” he said.
Greenwich also saw a big price growth - with a rise of two per cent between April and May. Tim Howells, branch manager at Felicity J Lord, believes the price growth is being driven by the launch of new riverside developments like Galliard Homes’ New Capital Quay and strong demand for period properties in the west of the borough (specifically Greenwich and Blackheath), where four-bedroom Victorian homes now sell for £700,000-plus.
In prime central London, Westminster managed an annual price increase of 10.3 per cent, but Kensington and Chelsea recorded a relatively lacklustre 8.5 per cent rise. Month-on-month Kensington is up 0.5 per cent, and Westminster up 1.6 per cent. A pale shadow of the growth enjoyed in prime central London in the year to March 2010, when they shot up some 30 per cent.
Lucian Cook, director of residential research at Savills, believes growth has been slowing in top postcodes like Belgravia and Knightsbridge since the end of 2010. “The introduction of a higher rate Stamp Duty for properties above £2 million led to a less buoyant, more cautious market.”
Fears of a future mansion tax plus greater stability in the Eurozone have added to the slowdown, while many prime London buyers are now looking to south-west London for better value.
Although the figures are, broadly, good news for the London property market, Olympic borough Newham is struggling. It saw a below-inflationary annual price growth of 0.4 per cent, and a price fall of 1.3 per cent month-on-month between April and May this year.