Prices not frozen for win­ter

The Jewish Chronicle - - Property news -

There’s no win­ter slow­down in prime cen­tral Lon­don prices. Es­tate agent Haart re­ports that the av­er­age Lon­don house price in­creased by 1.5 per cent, to £256,681, in Novem­ber, for ex­am­ple.

In ad­di­tion, first-time buyer lev­els re­mained at 26 per cent, as the mar­ket ex­pe­ri­enced un­usu­ally high ac­tiv­ity lev­els.

Trans­ac­tion lev­els were up 10 per cent in Novem­ber, com­pared to the same pe­riod last year, as de­mand re­mained strong.

House prices in the cap­i­tal rose al­most nine per cent in 2006.

Paul Smith, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Haart, says: “De­spite the in­ter­est rate rise, there hasn’t been a drop in buy­ers’ ap­petite to en­ter the mar­ket and we look set to see an in­creas­ingly ‘sea­son­less’ mar­ket.

“Tra­di­tion­ally, the sum­mer months and the Christ­mas pe­riod brought calmer phases, with fewer peo­ple pri­ori­tis­ing house- hunt­ing, but if the high ac­tiv­ity con­tin­ues, th­ese ‘sea­sons’ within the mar­ket could start to be­come less no­tice­able.

“City work­ers an­tic­i­pat­ing the ar­rival of their end-of-year bonuses boosted ac­tiv­ity lev­els in the cap­i­tal. The num­ber of po­ten­tial buy­ers reg­is­tered at our branches, par­tic­u­larly in the pres­ti­gious ar­eas of Lon­don, jumped con­sid­er­ably.

“Mil­lions of pounds are ex­pected to be chan­nelled into bricks and mor­tar in the New Year.

“How­ever, while th­ese City work­ers may be pre­pared to pay above the odds for their dream home, most buy­ers re­main price-sen­si­tive and over­priced prop­er­ties will not sell.”

Ac­cord­ing to es­tate agent Knight Frank, prime cen­tral Lon­don prop­erty prices grew by 2.8 per cent in Novem­ber — the ninth month in which prices grew by over two per cent since the start of the year.

An­nu­alised price growth cur­rently stands at 26.6 per cent, the high­est since June 1988.

Knight Frank agrees that, for the sec­ond year in a row, the City bonus sea­son ap­pears to have ended the tra­di­tional win­ter mar­ket slow­down.

Even be­fore bonus money was re­ceived, its im­pact be­gan to be felt on the prime cen­tral Lon­don prop­erty mar­ket.

Liam Bai­ley, Knight Frank’s head of res­i­den­tial re­search, com­ments: “The big story over the past 18 months in cen­tral Lon­don has been sharp de­mand growth, met with an equally sharp down­turn in sup­ply. The tight mar­ket con­di­tions have helped push prices for­ward by the high­est rate of growth seen for 18 years.

“The im­pact of de­mand from the City has meant that the tra­di­tional end-of-year slow­down is in­creas­ingly be­com­ing a thing of the past in Lon­don.

“The nor­mal sales pat­tern for the UK has al­ways been that we have two mar­ket up­turns – one in spring and the sec­ond in au­tumn, to­gether with two mar­ket down­turns, sum­mer and win­ter.

“Lon­don has al­ways been a lit­tle dif­fer­ent – with de­mand from new work­ers start­ing jobs in au­tumn mean­ing the sum­mer mar­ket can re­main fairly strong.”

“Tak­ing into con­sid­er­a­tion the time-lag be­tween bonus an­nounce­ments and pay­outs, bonus sea­son lasts from De­cem­ber through to April, but now ap­pears to im­pact the prime Lon­don mar­ket from Oc­to­ber (as bonus lev­els are an­tic­i­pated) un­til July (when most deals have been put to bed).

“Our re­search re­veals that the num­ber of view­ings tripled be­tween the months of De­cem­ber 2005 and March 2006.”

In such a strong mar­ket, would-be buy­ers should move fast to snap up a home at Lin­den Homes’ Tan­tarra Place, on Herkomer Road, in Bushey, Herts. Sales at the scheme have been so strong that there are only a few homes left to sell.

The 14 one- and two-bed­room apart­ments and three-bed­room town­houses at the de­vel­op­ment are just a short walk from shops, pubs, restau­rants and open spa­ces, and there is also a pic­turesque Grade II listed rose gar­den ad­ja­cent to the de­vel­op­ment.

Apart­ments here are priced from £234,950 and houses start at £439,950.

City buy­ers will also be at­tracted to Bell­way’s First Cen­tral apart­ment de­vel­op­ment, at Twyford Abbey Drive, in Park Royal, North-West Lon­don, on the site of the for­mer Guin­ness fac­tory.

There are two pent­houses here, next to acres of green land­scaped grounds, with walk­ways, cy­cle paths, tran­quil lakes, wa­ter­falls and a 20acre na­ture re­serve.

The Aqua Build­ing at First Cen­tral, com­pris­ing 32 apart­ments, has sold quickly and only the two pent­houses re­main, at £525,996 and £549,995.

Seven storeys up, one of the three­bed­room apart­ments of­fers views of cen­tral Lon­don, the other of Wem­b­ley, and both have two un­der­ground park­ing bays.

Prices at the Aqua Build­ing range from £242,995 to £336,995 and the build­ing is due for com­ple­tion in July/Au­gust 2007.

Houses at Tan­tarra Place, Bushey, Herts: sell­ing fast, at prices from £439,950

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