Where to buy a home in 2019: London’s top Brexit-beating areas for home buyers and how to spot them
As the March deadline nears, the London property market is shrouded in Brexit uncertainty.
There are pockets of the capital that are thriving but it is “erratic at best”, with dramatic swings in sales month to month, says Featherstone Leigh estate agent Oscar Doyle.
He is expecting a muted first quarter of 2019 — an opinion widely shared. Expensive new homes in the very best locations are shifting, at Southbank Place next to the London Eye for example. But mostly it is a bit of a slog selling high-end flats.
WHERE DOES THE MARKET STILL HAVE A BUZZ?
Hackney remains vibrant and buoyant, measured by economic growth, employment figures, house price and rental rises, according to research exclusive to Homes & Property.
It’s followed by Tower Hamlets, Westminster, Haringey and the City of London, says property group CBRE, with Islington, Richmond, Southwark and Newham next in line. Other boroughs such as Waltham Forest are highlighted for their high employment levels.
START-UPS: ARE THEY A GOOD SIGN FOR BUYERS?
Fledgling companies that can afford to pay London business rates and rents are a sign of footfall and an active community for prospective home buyers perusing the neighbourhood. Clusters of small independent businesses are another indicator of prosperity.
Haringey’s Blue House Yard creative hub: affordable work and events space (Jan Kattein Architects)
“When small businesses thrive, local economies thrive,” says Michelle Ovens, director of the government-backed scheme Small Business Saturday UK.
“Small businesses employ locally, support local supply chains and bring prosperity and life to a community,” she adds. “It is always great to see lots of independent traders on local high streets, as it can really help increase the appeal of a community, which can often lead to increased house prices as an area becomes more attractive.”
LOOKING FOR ECONOMIC GROWTH? TRY HACKNEY
Hackney’s strong economic performance is down to the development of Tech City, the cluster of digital companies that started on Old Street Roundabout and spread, according to CBRE’s Jennet Siebrits.
She predicts growth in local GDP of 18 per cent over the next four years — the highest across the capital. “Hackney is one of the biggest success stories of the regeneration of the East End of London,” she says.
The cost of a home there has risen 4.5 per cent over the last year to reach £583,331, while major housing development has also brought jobs to the borough.
There are nearly 3,000 new homes under construction. Berkeley Homes demolished the old tower blocks by the West Reservoir — they were used in the film Schindler’s List to depict the Warsaw ghettos — and is building Woodberry Down, with 5,500 homes plus cafés, shops and a community centre. Prices start at £580,000 for a one-bedroom apartment. Call 020 8108 1612.
LAUNCHING A SMALL BUSINESS? TRY RICHMOND
Richmond has seen 5.7 per cent house price growth over the last 12 months, taking the typical value to £688,578. Average earnings, meanwhile, are second highest in London, behind Westminster.
As a result, small independent businesses that develop a loyal local customer base do well while many of the bland chains fold.
Rock & Fairy hair salon in nearby St Margarets is a favourite, as is Debraggio Italian deli near Richmond Green. It’s also home to personalised stationery start-up Martha Brook. Martha Keith started the business in 2013 after she made her husband a box containing 10 little love notes.
Noteworthy: Martha Keith with some of her team at Richmond-based personalised stationery brand Martha Brook (Tom Horna)
“Richmond is a very local market and families moving out of London often skip over it and head down the A3 to Esher and Cobham or the M3 to Wentworth,” says local Featherstone Leigh estate agent Oscar Doyle. “But if people do land here they seldom move on. I have repeat clients who I see on their way up the ladder and back down again.”
Surrounded by protected parkland, big new developments are hard to come by in leafy Richmond, while small boutique schemes tend to be expensive, such as the plush apartments at Richmond Brewery Stores, a converted beer bottling factory. Featherstone Leigh is selling one for £1.35 million.
LOOKING FOR BIG CHANGE? TRY HARINGEY
On the cusp of change, Haringey offers the opportunities that come with transformation. Rents in the borough have climbed seven per cent in 12 months, the highest rise in any London borough, proving Haringey is in demand among young tenants.
The local economy is forecast to expand by 14pc by 2022, while the population is set to grow by 11 per cent and the average house price is now £550,415.
“It’s a borough of change,” says CBRE’s Jennet Siebrits. She’s referring to the regeneration of the Upper Lea Valley and the new 56,250-seater stadium for Tottenham Hotspur FC, along with 579 homes.
Part of the Haringey Heartlands Regeneration, Clarendon by St William will deliver 1,714 flats plus business and community space, shops and a cultural quarter. From £335,000 for a studio flat.
All in the game: Cakes & Ladders, a free community board game café and taproom in Haringey’s Blue House Yard creative hub (Ben Broomfield)
University friends Hywel Sedgwick-Jell and Ruth Knox are the founders of Cakes & Ladders, a free board game community café and taproom based in a double-decker bus in Blue House Yard, a creative hub in a former car park and converted disused council building in Haringey. Providing affordable work and events space on the site, Meanwhile Space has set up brightly coloured smart sheds.
‘WE UNLOCK UNDERUSED SPACE IN HARINGEY’
Emily Berwyn runs Meanwhile Space. Her 740 tenants include a shop that sells fleeces for dogs and a vegan, plastic-free convenience store — bringing choice to London’s high streets.
Emily Berwyn, 36, runs Meanwhile Space
She has helped to transform Blue House Yard, a former car park in Haringey.
“We unlock underused space for the benefit of the community, finding wasted space, transforming unloved visible, interesting, dilapidated, difficult buildings into something useful,” explains Emily, 36.
WANT A STRONG JOBS MARKET? TRY WALTHAM FOREST
Florist Layla Husseyin, 34, started Bloom of the Block as part of an incubator scheme run by meanwhilespace.com and has recently opened her own shop in Walthamstow, where she also lives.
Blooming business: Florist Layla Husseyin has recently opened her own shop in Walthamstow (Adrian Lourie)
With a background in furniture design, she prides herself on creating bold and modern bouquets, but puts much of her success down to her choice of area.
“I don’t think I would be where I am today if I wasn’t in Walthamstow,” she insists. “There’s a lot happening and so many independent shops and businesses that have helped me and made it all feel possible.” The employment rate in the borough is 78.5 per cent.