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September 2018 Newsletter

We hope you had a great summer! Here is our latest round up of the current talking points in the London property market.  

Watchlist:

Brexit-related uncertainties continue to dominate the London property market.  However a common refrain is that there still are properties priced realistically, that do attract multiple buyers. We have ourselves experienced the dreaded “sealed, best and final bids” this summer.

Grosvenor Square – Mayfair – With the new American Embassy well and truly established in its new home south of the river, the transformation of its old home  the London Chancery Building in Grosvenor Square continues. It was purchased in 2009 by Qatari Diar and is being transformed into a luxury Rosewood hotel.

The Embassy was originally situated at One Grosvenor Square from 1938-1960 and was taken over by the Canadian High Commission in 1962. Development work on this building is now well underway to turn it into a prime residential scheme.

Meanwhile at Twenty Grosvenor Square, the former American navy’s HQ is being transformed into the first ever standalone Four Seasons residences. Prices are expected to start at £17.5m for the three-bedroom residences and from £35m for five bedrooms.

Houses in Mayfair average at £2,300 per sqft, but can go up to £5,000 whilst prices in nearby Regent’s Park average at £1,700 sqft, up to over £3,000.

(FT, Tel, Tim, Amara)

Elizabeth Line / Crossrail delay – Due to open this coming December, it was announced at the end of August that the line will now open at the end of 2019. 

Earl’s Court – The controversial redevelopment of Earl’s Court has taken another hit. The London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham has launched a legal investigation into the deal to sell Earl’s Court to Capco in 2012. (PW)

Simplification of leasehold enfranchisement – the leasehold vs freehold discussion is one that we hold very regularly with our clients, particularly with non-UK clients for whom it is rather confusing. The Law Commission has announced that it is working on radical new proposals designed to make it easier for leaseholders to buy the freehold of their home. These will not come into effect until summer 2019 at the earliest.  (MW)

King’s Cross still growing – Facebook has secured around 15% of the total commercial space at King’s Cross, where other tenants already include Google, Universal Music, Havas and Louis Vuitton. (PW)

Angel – UK buyers still account for 75% of all buyers in this very central area.  Price for prime period houses are around £1,250 per sqft, but some prices for newly built appartements on Upper Street have reached £2,000. The future of the large City Road developments is less clear, as a glut of new tower flats has pushed prices down. (Chesterton, FT)

Barnes village – Nestled in a bend of the Thames and off the tube network, but with a direct train  to Waterloo, and a short bus ride to  Hammersmith Broadway, Barnes has always been London’s little known, secluded village.  Average prices per sqft for prime properties, typically large elegant period family houses, are around £900 per sqft. (Savills and FT) 

West Hampstead – A 25 min ride from Canary Wharf on the Jubilee line should ensure a relative long-term desirability for the area, on top it being significantly better value than its neighbours Hampstead, Maida Vale and St John’s Wood.   Price per sqft average around £800 to £900. (FT Savills)

The Market:

Transaction volumes – Richmond, Kew and Sheen have seen an increase of 44% in transactions from Q2 2017 to Q2 2018.  This compares with Canary Wharf where transaction volumes decreased by 29% over the same period. (Lonres)

The Future:

Is Blockchain the next big thing in real estate? Following the first sale, in 2017, of a property on blockchain, enthusiasts would like us to think so (PW). However they may forget that the real estate industry has never been know for setting trends, and certainly not in technology. But watch this space, we will watch developments!

 We very much hope that you find this update concise and informative. However please do let us know if you would rather we did not send this to you.

Regards,

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Jane Wood
Founding partner