London's new homes launches: the hottest homes for every type of buyer and budget
* A huge range of new homes are launching throughout London this spring in areas such as Aldgate, Shoreditch, Fleet Street and Borough.
* There is a rise of tech-smart new homes in the capital, including Holborough Lakes in Sevenoaks which features energy saving technology.
* New schemes to regenerate rundown locations are launching in areas such as Elephant and Castle this spring.
This spring, new homes are shooting up faster than the daffodils, with builders buoyed by the Government’s new Help-to-Buy scheme. Easter fired the starting gun for the new homes launch season, with a wider-than-ever choice of showhomes to visit, catering for every type of buyer and budget — from first-timers and families trading up, to the newlywed and the downsizing newly divorced.
And with prospective buyers demanding more design quality, developers have stepped up to the plate with innovative features at every price level.
Smart home technology
One simple design innovation making its debut this spring, at Holborough Lakes in Sevenoaks, is an energy-saving master switch. Positioned just inside the front door, it turns off all the lights when you leave.
Other new ideas include touchpad smart home technology that allows digital downloads in every room in the house, and glass-walled winter gardens are becoming a fashionable housing extra.
Interior designers are being briefed not just to dress showhouses but to maximise ways to add a sense of space, with well-designed storage furniture, textured and light-reflective fabrics and uplifting glossy surfaces. Lighting style — underfloor, in staircases, subtle and clever — is crucial.
One idea, copied from New York, is to design homes so that the front door opens straight into the living space, doing away with the hall. This works particularly well in high-rise apartments with floor-to-ceiling windows, as it opens up views. And instead of dividing walls, bespoke shelving units are used to separate areas.
“The flow of space is the first and most important design aspect,” says interior designer Tara Bernerd, whose current residential projects include show flats at One Blackfriars and One The Elephant. “Once the architectural principles are formed, it’s about the layers, the choice of finishes and textures.
“Since the first wave of recession in 2008, there’s been a conscious move towards higher standards, and what is most suitable rather than what is the most expensive or flashy.”
Sensible builders actually ask buyers what they want. Customer feedback has led St James Homes to indulge buyers in their larger houses with his and hers dressing rooms. Other popular requests were balconies and terraces on higher floors, and large family rooms with bi-folding full-height glass doors that open on to the garden.
Small things make all the difference, such as pull-down loft ladders and bathroom cabinets set into the wall with mirrored doors inside and out, and “camouflaged” light switches and mobile phone sockets that blend into the background or can be painted over.
Early buyers can often change the floor plans. At Hurlingham Gate, Fulham, off-plan buyers can choose either a master bedroom suite on the top floor of the house, or two separate bedrooms.
Popular Locations in good-value areas
Fulham residents are crossing the river in search of better value in Battersea and Balham.
Others are moving from Parsons Green to Putney, from Hammersmith to Shepherd’s Bush, from Clapham to Dulwich, from Highbury to Finsbury Park.
Ever-resourceful developers are unlocking popular riverside and canalbank sites, converting heritage buildings with character into luxury homes. And, for those who hate commuting fares, creating boutique flats in commercial districts with history, such as the Holborn legal quarter.
The Regeneration Game: April 2013 launch
Regeneration continues to transform those bad areas that are in great locations, such as Elephant and Castle, where the first scheme on the demolished Heygate council estate launches the second week of April 2013. Prices from £310,000. Visit trafalgarplace.co.uk
The brave who buy here are often winners. Look at those who moved to Docklands in the Eighties, to the South Bank in the Nineties and to King’s Cross at the start of the Millennium.
Watch out for the hype. Developers’ glossy brochures can turn even the grittiest urban area into an aspirational hotspot. Don’t be taken in by the Prada-clad concierge. Go compare — look around and price up the area, especially when purchasing off-plan.
With its splendid baroque gates, this restored listed building at Royal Arsenal, Woolwich, once formed the entry to the main shell foundry at the former armaments factory. Duplex apartments ranging up to 1,567sq ft are priced from £475,000. Call 0844 417 8741.
A new waterfront complex of apartments with large, glazed terraces, moments from Kingston Bridge. Prices from £280,000. Call Redrow on 020 3581 2003.
One Riverside, Wandsworth
Located on a bend of the river known as the Wandle Delta, a wildlife habitat, apartments are being built alongside pleasureboat moorings, pontoon jetties and a passenger stop for the river taxi. There is also an art gallery, deli and restaurants. Two-bedroom apartments start at £500,000. Call 020 8877 2000.
New River Gardens, Finsbury Park
On the banks of the giant East Reservoir, near Finsbury Park, New River Gardens has 152 apartments. The scheme is part of a 64-acre regeneration zone, with a nature reserve and new parks. Prices from £287,500. Call 020 8985 9918.
With a new homes shortage in the Square Mile, the City fringe is brimming with smart new apartments.
Aldgate and Whitechapel, Shoreditch and Spitalfields, Farringdon and Fleet Street, Borough and Bermondsey — all are booming hotspots with what Knight Frank calls “unstoppable demographic momentum”. It is now a place for creatives and techies, as well as walk-to-work bankers and lawyers. Cityscape, in Commercial Street, has 128 flats. Prices from £315,000. Call Telford Homes on 020 3620 8003. At 20 Hoxton Square, Victorian workshops have been converted into loft-style apartments priced from £1.32 million. Call Fyfe McDade on 020 7613 4044.
Holborn, which stretches from Old Bailey, past the Hatton Garden jewellery quarter and Lincoln’s Inn to Covent Garden, has acquired a fresh identity with the arrival of global law and accountancy firms, which is triggering demand for local homes. This former residential backwater is now a prime address.
At Breams Buildings, a quiet passageway off Chancery Lane, a handsome period property has been converted into nine apartments, including a penthouse and a basement duplex with dramatic lightwell. Prices from £895,000. Call Jackson-Stops & Staff on 020 7664 6649.