“South- West London boasts new luxury neighbourhoods alongside value pockets”
Anna White, the property writer for The Telegraph, charts the improving south-west London housing market and finds a clutch of new luxury neighbourhoods alongside value pockets.
Just seven stops on the Northern Line from Bank to Clapham North, south-west London is a traditional stamping ground for young City workers and families whose income is often drawn from the capital’s financial sector. As a result Nappy Valley residents, who live from Fulham down to Wimbledon and across from Clapham to Putney, are acutely aware of both domestic and international political and economic news. The south-west London property market always reflects this sensitivity, but it was particularly true of 2017.
PRICE FALLS IN 2007
Well-documented house price falls in the most expensive enclaves of central London over the last three years, first triggered by George Osborne’s hike in stamp duty above the £1 million threshold, finally rippled out to the south-west.
Confidence was shaken by a conspiring combination of the result of the EU referendum in June 2016 and the surprise result of the snap election called by the Conservatives in May 2017, in which Labour gave the Tories a run for their money.
“When Lehman Brothers collapsed it was the Northcote Road estate agent offices that felt it first in London,” says Patrick Rampton, Managing Director of Rampton Baseley. “It’s not the super-rich who react to economic news, it’s those whose livelihoods depend on our financial institutions.”
Prices in south-west London fell 4.2% last year, compared to 4% in central London. that the rate of deflation in the south-west outpaced the luxury core of the capital, according to recent research from estate giants Savills.
This was the first time since June 2012 The spring and summer last year were “scratchy to say the least,” says Rampton. “We were still getting over the turmoil caused by the public’s vote to leave the European Union and I believe prices adjusted down four to seven percent on average across south-west London. Then the Tories called a snap election, we expected Theresa May to win by a good majority and she didn’t. At this point, the market died.”
He also believes the Trump victory in the US made his customers nervous.
“2017 was the most unpredictable market I’ve seen,” says Marsh & Parsons’ Paul Price. “The only pattern was that the best of the one-beds would sell easily, as would the best of the family houses and the best of the luxury homes.”
A MARKET ON THE TURN
However, sentiment turned for the better in the build-up to Christmas and the start of 2018 looked brighter as vendors and potential buyers acclimatised to the national state of
uncertainty over Brexit deal negotiations. Uncertainty became the new norm.
“In the month before Christmas we had sealed bid battles on properties ranging in price from £700,000 for a flat to family homes over the £2 million mark,” says Rampton.
“Both buyers and sellers walked into our offices at the beginning of January. That makes me think we’re in for a better year.”
Thirty-somethings from Chelsea are selling their first flat and skipping a step in their south-west London property journey. “These couples are coming across the river to Battersea and Clapham, but rather than buying a terraced house in which to have a baby they are going straight for a £3 million detached family home – meaning they’ll only pay out on stamp duty once. They are missing out that mid-range home to minimise tax,” he says.
NEW LUXURY NEIGHBOURSHOODS
Last year’s price falls will have worried estate agents and vendors alike but this correction has made pockets of south-west London seem better value, such as Fulham. The average value per square foot of the best properties in Battersea has now reached £910, in line with leafy Barnes, in comparison to Fulham where a house now costs £890 per square foot, recent research by Savills reveals. Marsh & Parsons’ Price agrees: “We had central London buyers choosing Fulham to get more for their money.”
The Nine Elms effect has propped up prices in Battersea. Properties on the 42- acre Battersea Power Station site are selling well and therefore holding their prices. London’s most famous historic restoration,which will deliver nearly 5,000 new homes when completed in 2025, is also drawing buyers to look at the other Nine Elms developments such as Embassy Gardens, the riverside development on the opposite side of the Thames to Chelsea and Pimlico.
Comprised of 2,000 apartments that will range in price from £600,000 to £5 million, Embassy Gardens will also feature the sky pool – a 25m long swimming pool, encased in glass and suspended 35m up in the sky between buildings. The whole scheme sits next to the new $1 billion US embassy in Nine Elms – the most expensive embassy building in history.
For property bargain hunters, industry observers cite Tooting Broadway, just three miles south of Battersea. Buyers can find a four-bedroom family house for £850,000 – pick up that exact property and put it down in the Tonsleys (Wandsworth Old Town) and it’s worth £1.4 million.
Crossrail 2 will also improve connectivity to that part of the south-west and drive up prices once plans are confirmed. One branch of the high speed line will run from Chelsea down to Clapham Junction through Balham, Tooting Broadway and on to Wimbledon.
EMBARKING ON A PROJECT
- Consider a company that provides everything – from initial concept through to completion, making communication far easier – and one with experience in carrying out works similar to your plans who will be aware of local planning rules and building regulations.
- Always ask for recommendations from friends or neighbours and don’t just go on price as expertise and a high-quality finish are more important.
- Always prepare a detailed brief which reflects your ‘must have’ items – it’s more expensive to make changes when works are underway. An experienced architect will add value with creativity, planning the space effectively. If part of the construction team, he or she can be involved throughout.
- Be clear on your budget and allow a contingency of 20% for unforeseen issues. Old buildings often reveal problems once work is underway.
- Have a contract in place before any work begins, including a statement of works, timings and budget so all parties are clear on what is, or what isn’t, included. It should have details on the project design as well as payment terms.
Source : Qualitas
“COUNCILS ARE TAKING LONGER TO APPROVE PLANNING APPLICATIONS, ESPECIALLY FOR BASEMENTS. THEY ARE MORE STRINGENT NOW AND NEED MORE INFORMATION”
A new blog from Portico puts the average price of a home in Tooting Broadway at £662,000 and rental yields at 3.4 percent, and reads: “Tooting is already an established and popular place to live thanks to the Northern Line, but it’s cheaper than neighbouring Wandsworth or Clapham so there’s room for prices to increase.”
Streatham remains the more affordable alternative to Balham. Pensions consultant Stacy O’Sullivan bought in Streatham seven years ago with her husband Patrick, and doesn’t think prices in the area have peaked yet. They were renting a two-bedroom flat in Clapham but needed more space to start a family, and were desperate to get on the property ladder.
“We didn’t set out to pick Streatham but it was where we could afford the most space, and with an overground station and short bus ride to the Victoria Line at Brixton it was well connected to central London,” she says.
“Streatham is changing but not as quickly as people think. Yes, small independent shops, coffee shops and restaurants are springing up which gives it a nicer atmosphere, but the long high street (the longest in Europe) means that it is hard to create the village feel of Abbeville or Balham. The gentrification of Streatham has a long way to go and, therefore, so do prices.”
AN INDEPENDENT PROJECT MANAGER
A PM can provide creative input for a more ambitious result, with strong practical ideas from a wealth of experience.
Complex jobs suck up time. If you are busy or you’ve never managed a building project before, expert help and save time, stress and cost.
Right help, right time
A PM will advise on, and guide on, the input of architects, structural engineers and interior designers, as well as helping with the design and planning application stages, appointing a contractor and managing the build.
Ensure you’re covered
Have an agreed scope in writing, with responsibilities, costs and an option to cancel. Fixed fees are better than hourly rates, and should be split into phases.
Every build requires a thousand decisions
Agree which can be made on your behalf and which you need to make. Have regular updates on progress and budget in a format that works for you.
DONT MOVE IMPROVE
Like many streets across London, skips and scaffolding have become permanent residents in Nappy Valley.
Political uncertainty is also a driver in the renovations revolution.
Hamoment so they’re upgrading,” observes Barny Robinson of Red Box.
The ‘Don’t move, improve’ mantra has stuck. Ray Legge from Zenico Ltd reckons that expanding your empire is the way forward. “A complimentary and well-executed extension will always increase the value of your home,” and adds that, “previous studies suggest an average of 70% return on investment for well-managed builds.”
It’s no surprise that Rory Gordon, founder of Good London Builders, has seen a surge in demand for basement excavations as homeowners look to do just that.
“We had four projects ‘live’ and five in development on the morning after the EU referendum.
“WHEN CLIENTS DO BUILDING WORK IT IS THE SECOND MOST EXPENSIVE THING THEY EVER SPEND THEIR MONEY ON, AFTER A HOUSE”
By noon all of the development stage projects were on hold and one of the live projects had stalled. Three weeks later all were back on track, but customers are very
astute and these things do matter,” he says.
“When clients do building work it is the second most expensive thing they ever spend their money on (after a house) so they are right to make sure they are comfortable.”
The hike in stamp duty has also contributed to Gordon’s workload. “If you base the decision to move from a £1.5 million terraced house to a bigger ‘forever’ home then you’re looking at £150,000 of stamp duty on a £2 million home.
That makes it harder to take that next step – therefore the obvious thing to do is use the money to dig a basement,” he says.
Steve McStea, co-founder of Advantage Basements, says that the backdrop of uncertainty has made customers spend more not less on overhauling their home. “People are moving less often and therefore, rather than doing a small basement, are really going for it.
“Ten years ago the typical basement cost £150,000. People are now committing £300,000.”
“THE BACKDROP OF UNCERTAINTY HAS MADE CUSTOMERS SPEND MORE NOT LESS”
Rather than adding two rooms underground they are going front to back and out under the garden, he explains. Internal trends include the mixing of metals such as copper with antique brass or chrome for handles, hinges, switches and lamps.
James Bernard, MD of Plus Rooms, has noticed a change in how homeowners are configuring the ground floor. “They’ve stopped doing large open-plan spaces as it’s not practical for families,” he says. The demand is for multifunctional spaces, keeping the front room as an adult living room or office, as well as a move away from bi-folds all the way across the back wall. “Sliding doors have bigger doors and thinner profiles, so less obstruction visually which makes the space look bigger,” he says.
Other trends include remote-controlled fireplaces, window seats and underfloor heating throughout the whole house (not just the kitchen or bathroom).
Planning new cabling is essential for the connected home, particularly if you want to avoid wireless buffering. Advises Tim Slorick of Zenico: “Incorporating data cabling into your design will significantly increase the performance of media and TV streaming and reduce the demand on your wireless network.” You have been warned!
Homeowners are alert to remote, touch-of app technology, such as Nest smart heating systems and alarms. A new doorbell available through the Co operative has a camera connected to the smartphone app (www.ring.com), meaning you can see who is at your door even if you’re away. It’s proving popular in 2018 meaning the residents of south-west London can watch over their homes just as they keep an eye on the property market and the wider news agenda.
FUNCTION BEFORE FORM
Be sure not to follow the Joneses (like lemmings) over the design cliff. What looks great on paper or in a photo can prove to be dysfunctional for family living. Knocking through from front to rear reception may appear to be sensational space, but hold on – you’ve just reduced the number of rooms!
So less is more isn’t always the case. Sometimes more really is better. If you’re suffering from nowhere to go to escape from the rest of the family consider reinstating a partition. You could possibly even create two new useful rooms – a study and a boot room. If built in conjunction with a kitchen extension, the
change could bring sanity and even serenity once more.
Careful consideration of functionality is an important part of an architect’s job. Think about how you want to live in and enjoy your home, not just how it will look once the work is done.
Source: Sure Planning
ON THE MARKET
So for those buyers ready to bite the bullet, what’s up for grabs?
At the very top end is a Victorian landmark positioned on Clapham Common North Side where Rampton Baseley is selling a Grade II-listed mansion. It covers 8,800 sq ft with a 120ft garden and six bedrooms. It was designed and built by Victorian architect James Knowles in 1863 and has special details such as decorative ivy twists carved into the stone staircase, a wine cellar and a ballroom with 42 sq ft across which to waltz. It’s on the market for £7.5m.
In Clapham Old Town another historic building has been rescued and given a new lease of life. The early 20th-centurymetal works factory once run by William Bainbridge Reynolds, who created the chapel gates at St Paul’s Cathedral, is now a gated courtyard of studios and one and two-bedroom flats. There are eight one bedroom
apartments remaining starting from £435,000 for 400 sq ft, also on sale through Rampton Baseley.
Hop over the river to Fulham and property agent Portico is selling a two-bedroom, two-bathroom, split level period apartment for £599,950 (freehold) on Lillie Road. More affordable still is a two-bedroom flat in Streatham Hill, on the market with Portico. In a block above shops and just moments from the overground station, it’s a bright home with wooden floors and two reception rooms, priced at £450,000 (leasehold).
In Tooting Broadway, Marsh & Parsons is selling a three bedroom, period property for £750,000. It has two bathrooms and two reception rooms and is over 1,200 sq ft.