As an established area popular with families, good quality houses on the ‘Grid’ are selling well in excess of ‘2007 peaks’
Many people don’t realise that the home of the Wimbledon tennis championships is not actually Wimbledon itself, but neighbouring Southfields. At this time of year, the area is swarming with tennis enthusiasts, many of whom are incredibly impressed with all that this small area offers and how lovely and residential it is.
The buzz stretches all the way from Southfields up into Wimbledon village and many local residents use the tournament as an opportunity to rent out their homes to players or the media with the income funding summer holidays abroad. Neighbours watch with interest to see if there is a famous face living next door for a few weeks and in fact, we’ve recently sold a house that was rented out each year for the last five years to the same TV crew.
This buzz has helped put Southfields on the map and over the last few years, I’ve watched Southfields become a destination in itself and not just a second choice for buyers priced out of surrounding areas. When I first came to Southfields in 2005, buyers were stretching their search from more expensive neighbouring areas such as Putney and Wimbledon to what was seen as a less desirable but cheaper area. Now buyers are looking at Southfields as their first choice, primarily because it offers fantastic schools, good transport links and green open spaces – all of which are key factors for families looking to move.
According to the latest Land Registry House Price Index for April 2013, the borough of Wandsworth has seen an annual price increase of 10.8%, which was one of the highest seen across London. Buyers are being pushed from central London to the surrounding areas and this ripple effect across London is making zones 3-4 very attractive. As an established area popular with families, good quality houses on the ‘Grid’ are selling well in excess of ‘2007 peaks’. At the end of 2007, we were typically selling extended four bedroom terraced houses around £750,000 - £800,000 and these are now selling for £850,000 - £1,000,000. This is less than the million plus you would have to pay in parts of Battersea and Fulham.
However, it is not only families moving to the area. It has long attracted young professionals and I have seen a rise in the number of younger buyers being helped by the ‘bank of mum and dad’ onto the property ladder. Parents realise that their money is not earning interest in the bank and would rather put it to good use helping their children buy their own home. Another group of buyers who are increasingly active are the ‘first time buy to let investors’ who are soon to retire or recently retired and are looking to invest a lump sum of £300,000-£400,000 typically. They are risk averse and want a nice looking property that is close to home that can be managed easily and will earn them a monthly income in years to come.
Caroline Basma, Lettings Manager of our Earlsfield branch which covers the Southfields area, says that they’ve seen a real increase in the number of tenants looking to move into the area. Interestingly, she notes that quite a few corporate professionals are being relocated and are therefore becoming accidental landlords and offering their lovely family homes for rent. A good quality four bedroom house tends to achieve in the region of between £2,500 and £3,000 per month which is a yield of around 4.5% for investors. Interestingly, Caroline’s branch has registered double the number of potential tenants this month than those seen the year before. This speaks volumes about the state of the market which had seen a big increase in stock levels earlier this year, which in turn resulted in a slight decline in rental prices. These are now recovering however and rental stock is thinning out as we head towards the second half of the year.