University challenge winners
HO L D O N A m i n u t e ! S o meone’s found some good news t o r e p o r t about property prices. Figures from the latest Assetz House Price Watch, which analyses data from the five main house-price indices, suggest that the market is flattening and not falling as dramatically as many report.
It says that, nationally, house prices are down just 0.1 per cent since the end of 2007. The average house price in March 2008 was down just 1.5 per cent since the peak in October 2007.
Assetz says that three-month average prices have actually bounced back since the start of the year. Between January and March 2008, the average house price was £212,141, representing a marginal 0.66 per cent fall compared to the three-month average price for October to December 2007, which was £213,551. But the three-monthly average house prices for January through to February are virtually flat.
Stuart Law, chief executive of Assetz, comments: “While headline annual rates of house-price growth are slowing, it is the short-term data over the last few months that shows how robust the housing market is proving in 2008. Our analysis of average monthly prices across the main house-price indices, combined with averaging these across the prior three months, takes out all of the volatility and statistical errors that are evident in the monthly data announced by the main indices.
“The housing market is very unlikely to crash. The fundamental economics of supply and demand support this — the government has made it clear we need to build 240,000 new homes per year up to 2016 to meet current targets, but in reality today’s housebuilders are building nowhere near this target. In fact a fall, as opposed to an increase, in new starts is expected over the next two years. Only last week, one major housebuilder announced that it plans to hold starts on all new sites until the mortgage market improves. With this in mind, the lack of supply looks set to worsen — fundamentally helping support and even increase house prices.”
Among those developers going ahead with big schemes are two on the sites of former universities. Comer Homes is working on its Royal Connaught Park scheme in Bushey, Herts, formerly the Royal Masonic School for Boys and subsequently the US International University (Europe). Meanwhile, Inner Circle Homes has acquired the 10-acre former Middlesex University site in Ponders End, Enfield.
Comer’s Royal Connaught Park is set in 100 acres of parkland. It will now feature luxury apartments, each with granite- and porcelain-tiled living areas, power showers and video entryphones.
An underground car park, with designated residents’ spaces and extra room for guests’ vehicles, will ensure that the beauty of the grounds remains unspoilt and there is 24-hour on-site security. Prices start at £369,000.
Inner Circle is working with its professional team, in co-operation with the council, to bring forward a planning application for 600 residential properties, 30,000 sq ft of commercial space and community facilities.
At the heart of Ponders End, the development will become a vital part of the town’s on-going regeneration. As well as providing the local community with a new residential destination and community facilities, Inner Circle Homes will be making improvements to the local infrastructure and high street.
Stephen Friel, development director of Inner Circle Homes, comments: “Our aim is for the development to set new standards for Ponders End and to provide a wide variety of apartments and houses to meet the aspirations of the most discerning city executives couples and first-time buyers.
“We are submitting plans to provide new homes that are contemporary in design and innovative in terms of specification, to ensure that Ponders End becomes a place of choice, not a place of necessity.”
Distinctively-tiled, spacious living room at Comer Homes’ Royal Connaught Park