Reasons to be cheerful

Anna White, freelance property writer for The Telegraph, tracks the post-Brexit housing market in Nappy Valley and discovers multiple hot spots in house price growth bucking the national trend.

cheerfull 1Battersea Power Station by Johny Midnight at Gallery Midnight

London’s estate agents, home owners and prospective buyers are entering the 2017 spring selling season – traditionally the industry’s busiest time of the year – with interest.

After all, George Osborne’s stamp duty overhaul, introduced over two years ago, the disruption of the 2015 general election and uncertainty created before and after the EU referendum, have conspired to cool the family and luxury homes market across the capital, with economists forecasting price stagnation at best and even corrections over the next 12 months.

Luke Parle, Sales Manager, Clapham and Battersea offices, Portico says: “The first few weeks of 2017 have been promising, with the first sale of the year agreed well in excess of the asking price and the vast majority of others being agreed at their asking price.”

So it’s remiss to write-off house price growth in south-west London’s popular Nappy Valley, mainly comprising Wandsworth and Lambeth, stretching north to Fulham and south to Wimbledon. Property values in this resilient region have more than doubled over the last decade – despite the 2008 global financial crisis and housing market crash.

While a dramatic bounce-back was recorded across much of Greater London following the banking meltdown, impressive price rises have continued unabated over the last 12 months in pockets of Nappy Valley, against a recently sluggish city average.

“Mortgages are still incredibly attractive which is still swaying many buyers from London’s high rents, and this coupled with not many new property listings, could see prices rise during the spring and summer,’’ believes Portico’s Parle.

The robust nature of the property market in the south-west is down to its appeal to the domestic buyer, explains Alex Philo, Sales Manager of the Marsh & Parsons Clapham branch.

“We are less reliant on high-net worth foreign buyers [spooked by Brexit and high property taxes] who are the traditional force powering the high-value areas of Knightsbridge and Kensington. We have suffered less in terms of price falls and a drop in sales.”

In fact, central London residents are now crossing the river. “Newly-weds who might be selling two flats in Chelsea are pooling their resources to buy a £2 million family home between the commons,” added Patrick Rampton, joint Managing Director of Rampton Baseley.

THE TRADITIONAL HOT SPOTS
Following Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, and the stamp duty hike on homes worth more than £1.5 million, London is widely considered to be a buyers’ market. However, for the right property, on the right street, near the right school, in a prime enclave such as Northcote Road (SW11), competition is fierce and asking prices can be achieved or smashed.

“We sold a house for £1.6 million in Clapham Old Town a year ago. The new owners are relocating and an offer has just been agreed at £1.8 million. They have done very well in what’s considered to be a slowing market,” says Philo.

DID YOU KNOW…
EARLSFIELD AND WIMBLEDON ARE TWO OF THE ZONE 3 LOCATIONS WITH THE FASTEST JOURNEY TIMES INTO CENTRAL LONDON, SAYS A STUDY BY HAMPTONS INTERNATIONAL.

Prices have jumped by 8.5 per cent over the 12 months to December 2016 in SW11, which also encompasses Battersea Park and Clapham Junction. Values in SW12 – from the south of Clapham Common to the tip of Tooting Bec Common – climbed by 12.2 per cent in the year to December 2016, according to new data from Hamptons International.

Economic instability and uncertainty have made buyers more discerning and less willing to compromise, he continued, but people still have to move for that extra bedroom, more outside space and a top class education.

“The traditional hot spots of Abbeville Village, Northcote Road, Clapham Old Town and the Nightingale Triangle remain hugely popular with families. There are always lumps and bumps, but prices will continue to go up for those taking a long term view,” Philo adds.

Sara Ransom, Managing Director of Stacks London Property Search agrees, “All the agents are commenting that the residential market is bubbling along nicely after a fairly tumultuous 2016 which has resulted in some pent up demand. There is very much a feeling of life going back to normal, and for those who want to move – whether upsizing, downsizing or investing for their children – the market has resumed and there is a strong feeling of ‘back to business’,” says Ransom.

So us Brits still want to invest in property. With interest rates at historic lows, a mistrust of equities triggered by the credit crunch and a fear that our children will never get on the property ladder, the bank of mum and dad is driving the sale of flats in areas such as Clapham North, which still offers value for money.

Some areas of Nappy Valley, such as the apartment market along Clapham High Street, are quiet, with fewer developments underway and a subdued market, and period conversions currently more popular than new-build flats.

But there are some special schemes coming to market. For those after a luxury apartment in the heart of Clapham, just a few minutes’ stroll from the common and Clapham High Street, Galliard’s Crescent House is a must view.

The gated industrial-to-residential conversion, comprising 36 apartments, is set in a Conservation Area. The developer, Galliard, has preserved the main facade, wings, vaulted entrance hall, arched windows and period brickwork of this early 20th century building, which started life in 1937 as the Union for Post Office Workers. The interiors have been designed by Nicola Fontanella, who styled Madonna’s New York and Marylebone pads.

cheerfull 3
Clapham Common Tube by Johny Midnight at Gallery Midnight

NAPPY VALLEY IS GROWING UP
Of course London’s biggest and most high profile development is underway in the south-west.

What was a wasteland on the south bank of the Thames is being transformed into a 42-acre miniature town built around the Grade II listed Battersea Power Station, with its Doric chimneys and resident peregrine falcons. By the time it is completed in 2025, the site will provide 4,353 homes.

The Chief Executive of the Battersea Power Station Development Company, Rob Tincknell, claims his scheme will extend Nappy Valley to the north and complete Battersea.

“Battersea Power Station will truly have a positive impact locally, bringing a new lease of life to the former brownfield site, opening up the riverfront. In addition to homes there will be offices, shops, restaurants, cafés and a village hall [in the former railway arch] – a place for regular ballet classes or after school clubs and children’s birthday parties,” he says.

The Battersea Power Station development and wider Nine Elms regeneration is bringing renewed activity to the area, agrees Rampton. “It’s all linked to the news that Apple will open its London headquarters on site in 2021. This, plus the arrival of the new US Embassy, is creating a wave of confidence that will ripple out as new workers buy and rent in the likes of Latchmere Road. We are now in the midst of our own developing micro-London economy.”

DID YOU KNOW…
A HOUSE IN THE CATCHMENT AREA OF A SOUGHT-AFTER SCHOOL CARRIES A PREMIUM OF £45,000 ON AVERAGE. HOMES NEAR SW17’S GRAVENEY SCHOOL FAR EXCEED THAT THOUGH, WITH THE AVERAGE SW17 HOUSE PRICE AT £702,200, BUT WITHIN THE SCHOOL CATCHMENT AREA IT’S £873,300

While an international investor on the hunt for a trophy address may fancy one of the penthouses at the top of the power station – expected to come up for sale next year – the savvy buyer should head further south for the best value and greatest capital appreciation.

Properties in SW17 – stretching from the south of Balham, through Tooting Bec and down to Tooting Broadway station, including the residential roads around St George’s Hospital – have increased in value by 13.5 per cent over the last 12 months (Hamptons International data). Nearby, young families are settling in Streatham Common (SW16) and enjoyed price rises of 11.3 per cent over the same period.

“Rather than simply moving out of Clapham to the likes of Twickenham and Surrey, buyers are now finding large family homes and plots in Streatham or Tooting,” Philo says. “The sale of a one- or two-bedroom flat in Clapham will buy a three- or four-bedroom house in Streatham Common.”


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