At the start of the year, the Land Registry announced that the average price for property in London had climbed upwards of £400,000, and that prices in the Capital had risen by 10.6% in just one year. In February this year, we saw a 52% increase in buyer registrations compared to the same time last year, indicating extremely high levels of demand and a subsequently strong sales market. Various factors have contributed towards this; a recovering economy, relaxed lending from banks, government schemes such as Help to Buy and of course the continued investment in property from foreign buyers who regard London as a safe haven. As a result, we’ve seen a 21% increase in the number of properties sold year on year.
Robert McLaughlin, Regional Sales Director for the North West and Central London region at KFH, comments: “We have definitely felt the ripple effects of confidence in the economy running throughout our North West and Central London branches. Everyone seems to be feeling a bit more comfortable, especially with the improved conditions in the mortgage market and we’ve noticed a rise in buyer appetite and activity across the board. In addition to those purchasing with mortgages, we’ve also been inundated by cash rich buy-to-let investors entering the market. With Europe and the rest of the world taking a bit longer to recover financially, London is viewed as a very attractive place to invest at present. With the added benefit of the Government’s Help to Buy scheme, first time buyers have also been making the most of the options available to them. While our instruction levels have risen, the high prices in London mean that some vendors have found it a challenge finding their next home, which has inevitability restricted movement in the market.”
Many areas in London still remain undervalued however and many purchasers are realising the benefit of moving slightly further afield; one of the main factors being that they can achieve more for their money. Some areas outside of the core one and two zones have seen a noticeable increase in values, and locations such as Earlsfield (zone three), Kingston (zone six), Beckenham (zone four), Ealing (zone three) and Crouch End (zone three), saw significant rises in 2013. Lisa Mackenzie, Regional Sales Director for South West London comments: “We saw incredibly high levels of demand in Brixton in 2013, and so far this year, the focus appears to be on Tooting. Demand has trickled along Earlsfield’s Garratt Lane into Tooting, where the hospital, good transport links and a vibrant community have attracted robust levels of demand. Skips and scaffolding are often the hallmarks of an up and coming area and these can be seen across SW17 as homeowners and developers look to cash in. The same is true of many other areas of London and the sales market continues to strengthen, I expect we’ll see an increase in savvy Londoners investing in these previously less popular locations.”