Go new-homes shop­ping for a spring di­count, says Doug Mor­ri­son

Evening Standard - West End Final Extra - ES Homes and Property - - Front Page -

HOME­BUY­ERS are set to ben­e­fit from price-trim­ming and gen­er­ous in­cen­tives from devel­op­ers across Lon­don this spring as the gap in price between new-build and sec­ond-hand prop­er­ties starts to nar­row.

Anal­y­sis car­ried out for Homes & Prop­erty by data firm LonRes re­veals that since last sum­mer, flats in Nine Elms at Vaux­hall, one of Europe’s big­gest re­gen­er­a­tion projects with plans for 20,000 new homes, have been selling at 14.5 per cent lower than the ini­tial ask­ing price. The fig­ures ap­ply to so-called re-sales — where flats in de­vel­op­ments have been bought off-plan be­fore con­struc­tion was com­pleted. Such flats were ini­tially bought by in­vestors or spec­u­la­tors and have never been oc­cu­pied and are back on the mar­ket.

Mar­cus Dixon, head of re­search at LonRes, says: “A lot of these de­vel­op­ments were tai­lored to in­vestors but now these schemes are com­plet­ing and ready to move into, there are op­por­tu­ni­ties for home own­ers and, while you are still pay­ing a premium over a Vic­to­rian con­ver­sion a few streets away, that premium is not as high as it was.”

Dixon be­lieves these re­sale prop­er­ties were over­priced in the first place .It might even pay prospec­tive buy­ers to wait awhile.

As Ed Lewis, di­rec­tor of es­tate agent Sav­ills, says: “The house­builder’s job is to turn over stock and it’s all a num­bers game.’’

With house­builders quoted on the Stock Ex­change, that crunch point is usu­ally their fi­nan­cial year-end. Bet­ter than ex­pected mar­ket con­di­tions out­side Lon­don helped some post healthy op­er­at­ing prof­its of more than 20 per cent in the past few weeks. So they can af­ford to ac­cept lower of­fers on the last few flats in a block if it means hitting their sales tar­gets.

When it comes to the last few avail­able flats in a block, it is worth ask­ing for a dis­count on the ask­ing price, es­pe­cially where there are com­pet­ing schemes lo­cally.

Rus­sell Quirk, chief ex­ec­u­tive of on­line es­tate agency eMoov.co.uk, pre­dicts a slow­down in the rate of price growth of mi­nus 4 per cent in Lon­don this year, which would mean a re­duc­tion of £22-25,000 on the av­er­age new-build prop­erty.

Bar­ratt al­ready of­fers in­cen­tives across many of its de­vel­op­ments, in­clud­ing pay­ing stamp duty of up to £14,000 on flats in its Cat­ford Green scheme in south-east Lon­don, and sim­i­lar stamp duty con­tri­bu­tions at En­derby Wharf on the south bank at Green­wich. Prices start from £366,000 and £430,000 re­spec­tively.

Hous­ing as­so­ci­a­tions are pro­mot­ing sim­i­lar deals on their pri­vate stock. Not­ting Hill Sales, a sub­sidiary of the as­so­ci­a­tion, is of­fer­ing buy­ers £2,000 to­wards their le­gal fees at its Royal Al­bert Wharf devel­op­ment in Dock­lands, pro­vid­ing buy­ers com­plete their pur­chase in eight weeks. Share­down­er­ship deals, with sub­sidised rents, are also avail­able on some of the 1,500 homes planned for this devel­op­ment near Gal­lions Reach DLR.

In­cen­tives are also avail­able for fam­ily homes in com­muter land. At Bol­ing­broke Park in Cock­fos­ters, L&Q is ask­ing £715,000 for its four-bed­room houses but will pay stamp duty on se­lected prop­er­ties “for a lim­ited time only”.

For Bew­ley Homes, the big selling point for its three- and four-bed­room houses at its Park­lands devel­op­ment near Read­ing has been Cross­rail, with prices from £447,500. Now, Bew­ley will pay £ 5,000 to­wards stamp duty and £1,000 to­wards le­gal costs.

Com­muter towns are good ter­ri­tory, too. Lin­den Homes has been cut­ting prices and of­fer­ing part-ex­change deals on some prop­er­ties at its Oak­lands devel­op­ment in Hor­sham, West Sus­sex. Prices from £272,500. Also, Lin­den is of­fer­ing part-ex­change on cer­tain schemes in Lon­don, in­clud­ing The Metropoli­tan in Bat­tersea, not far from Nine Elms. Prices start from £749,950.

£2,000 to­wards le­gal fees: Not­ting Hill Sales’s Royal Al­bert Wharf in Dock­lands

£14,000 con­tri­bu­tion to stamp duty fees: at Bar­ratt’s Cat­ford Green scheme

Help with stamp duty costs: En­derby Wharf in Green­wich

Part-ex­change deals: at The Metropoli­tan in Bat­tersea

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