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Elizabeth line property guide

Elizabeth line property guide

Elizabeth line property guide


Canary Wharf has been a long slow burn ever since the late 1980s when Margaret Thatcher decided to transform acres of derelict dockland in east London into London’s second financial centre.

Those early days were full of mishaps and disappointments — the cost of the Docklands Light Railway spiralled, and critics pointed out that once its offices cleared out the area became a ghost town.

But since 2012 things have changed, radically. No longer simply a place for bankers to earn a crust, Canary Wharf has become a modern destination in its own right.

You can relax in the Crossrail Roof Garden or Jubilee Park, shop at Crossrail Place or a series of underground malls, admire the boats at South Dock, learn to sail at the Docklands Sailing and Watersports Centre at Millwall Outer Dock, eat at the kind of restaurants where an expense account is a help — notably Roka (Canada Square), Ippudo London (Crossrail Place) or Hawksmoor (Water Street) — or stroll over to West India Quay where Grade I listed waterfront warehouses have been redeveloped with bars and restaurants.

The Canary Wharf Group puts on scores of cultural events each year, like the Winter Lights Festival and public art displays.

“When I tell people I live in Canary Wharf the majority of people say: “Oh it’s so boring, there is no character”,” said Kevin Tang, 51, who has lived in the area since 2000 with his husband Geffrye Parsons, 56.

Crossrail journey times

Canary Wharf to:

Tottenham Court Road: 13 minutes

Paddington: 18 minutes

Heathrow: From 54 minutes

Timings include ten minutes for interchange at Liverpool Street, eight minutes for interchange at Paddington, in force until 2023

“I think people should come and look at it now. It has actually got lots of character, because of the architecture. You feel very metropolitan when you live here, it is what modern London is all about. And it is heaving at the weekends with people coming to eat and drink and shop.”

The resident population of Canary Wharf has spiralled since the start of the 2000s as new towers have flown up. In 2011 there were 12,500 people living in the Canary Wharf ward, according to Tower Hamlets Council. By 2020 it had jumped to 19,000 and this is projected to leap to around 40,000 once all the new homes in the area are completed.

New landmarks on the skyline include Herzog & De Meuron’s One Park Drive, a 58 storey giant; prices currently start at £840,000 for a one bedroom flat.

There has also been heavy investment in flats built to rent. The largest to date is the Newfoundland tower, which was completed last summer. Its 636 flats cost from £2,383pcm for a one bedroom flat, and £3,335 for a two bedroom flat.

Average house prices since work on Crossrail started

2012: £371,700

2022: £603,000,

Growth: 62 per cent

Source: Hamptons

Beyond the official Canary Wharf estate new towers are being built overlooking South Dock, technically in the Isle of Dogs The 53 storey Amory Tower (formerly known as The Madison) and the 75 storey Landmark Pinnacle — where studio flats start at £559,000 — both completed last year.

Kevin, a property developer, and Geffrye, who recently took early retirement from his career in finance, reserved a flat in One Park Drive back in 2018 — the one-bedroom property, with phenomenal view from one of the highest floors, cost just over £1 million.

In the interim they rented a flat at 10, George Street, a purpose-built rental block, in 2020 before moving to their home at the start of this year.

They chose Canary Wharf partly because they were excited by the prospect of owning a home in Herzog & De Meuron’s first UK residential project. They travel frequently so living in a safe, lock up and leave home was another pull, along with the direct links to Heathrow that come with Crossrail’s long-awaited opening.

Their longer term plan is to move to Canada, and they plan to use the flat as a pied-à-terre, with the option of renting it out while they are not in the UK.

James Hyman, head of residential at Cluttons estate agents, estimates that around 70 per cent of Canary Wharf’s flats are bought by investors able to let a two-bedroom flat for around £2,200 per week.

Would-be owner occupiers can get a bit more for their money by opting for a resale flat rather than something brand new — around £750,000 would buy a two-bedroom apartment.

Hyman thinks the biggest challenge Canary Wharf’s market has faced over the past couple of years has not been the pandemic and absence of overseas buyers and local office workers.

It has been the building safety crisis and the subsequent demands for buildings to pass fire safety checks. “So many of those blocks still don’t have the right documentation to satisfy a lender and that has slightly suppressed the market,” said Hyman.

As a result, prices have inched up by just three per cent in the past two years.

Hyman agrees with Kevin that the appeal of Canary Wharf is its uniqueness. “It is a very sophisticated part of London if you want modern, purpose built living,” he said. “It is owned by a Singapore-based business, it is maintained to a Singapore standard and is probably the closest environment to utopia that exists.

“And Canary Wharf has changed massively over the past 10 years. It is buzzy at the weekend. The retail is West End standard, there are restaurants and bars. A lot of people who live in Canary Wharf don’t work there. Historically you only lived there if you also worked there.”

The future

The Canary Wharf Group has started work on the five million sq ft Wood Wharf development, which will include a hub for tech companies plus more than 4,000 new homes to rent or buy. The wharf will also include lots of new restaurants like street food sensation Mercato Metropolitano, due to open “imminently” within 10 George Street.

And at North Quay, there are plans to create a life sciences hub, several apartment buildings, a casino, nightclub, and skatepark.

To counteract all this steel, grass, and concrete, it was announced earlier this year that Canary Wharf chiefs are working with the Eden Project on plans to create a “green spine” through the docklands, featuring parks and gardens, boardwalks, bridges, and floating pontoons through the centre of the neighbourhood.

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London’s prime bubble sees record sales in homes over £5 million

London’s prime bubble sees record sales in homes over £5 million

London’s prime bubble sees record sales in homes over £5 million

Almost £3 billion was spent on £5 million-plus properties in the first half of 2022 as prime central London retains reputation as a ‘safe haven’ for foreign buyers

Mega-mansions are flying off the shelves in the top end of London’s property market with a record 294 homes in the £5 million plus bracket changing hands in the past six months.

Almost £3 billion has been spent on luxury property costing £5 million or more so far in 2022 according to research by agent Savills, the highest ever recorded.

Over half the sales in traditional super prime hotspots like Knightsbridge, Chelsea and Belgravia.

At 294, the number of homes sold in the first half of this year is almost as high as the total seen across 2019 as a whole (308 homes), the last period unaffected by the pandemic. It is even higher than in the bounce-back years following the 2008 financial crisis. There was also an increase in homes selling for more than £10 million, with 89 £10 million-plus sales completed in the first half of 2022, a 41 per cent increase on the first half of last year and 94 per cent increase on 2020.

A separate report from LonRes recorded super luxury sales including a 12-bedroom mansion on Belgrave Square near Harrods which sold for £90 million, and a property on The Boltons in Chelsea which sold for £42 million.

However, prices in prime London areas are still 17.6 per cent below their 2014 peak. Since then, the top end of the market has faced setbacks ranging from Brexit to tax changes and most recently the pandemic which has kept foreign buyers away. Many Asian buyers, particularly those from China and Hong Kong, were reluctant to visit London because of onerous Covid restrictions when they returned home while Russian buyers have also completely dried up since the start of the war in Ukraine.

This means wealthy Britain-based buyers continue to dominate the market’s top-end. With less reliance on the need to borrow money, this group remains relatively unaffected by the issues in the mass market such as rising interest rates and the cost of living crisis. A combination of these factors, plus the looming threat of a recession, means some experts have predicted house prices in the mainstream market will cool towards the end of the year.

Alex Christian, London director at Savills Private Office, said some foreign investors were starting to re-emerge in the prime London market, especially Asian buyers.

“London still looks like good value in a historical context, with prices well below the 2014 peak, and the pound remains weak against the American, Singapore, and Hong Kong dollar, as well as the Chinese Yuan, meaning that London property is looking like an increasingly good investment opportunity to buyers in these markets.”

He added: “Above all, prime central London’s reputation as a safe haven for international investment remains, and it is also seen as a secure bet to hedge against inflation.”

Alex Woodleigh Smith, managing director of Knightsbridge buying agency AWS Prime said the sector was seeing a correction in the value of prime central London property following the sharp decline experienced between 2015 and 2022, coupled with an ongoing shortage of stock.

“Add to this, a reinvigorated pool of domestic buyers and the re-emergence of international buyers fighting over limited supply and it is easy to see why scarcely available properties in the best addresses in London have become so irresistible. As a result, our summer has been anything but quiet”.

There has been a distinct increase in confidence in the prime London property market, which is resulting in more interest and an broad cross-section of investors from around the world investing in London.

Antony Antoniou, director of Trellows Luxury Homes said:

“As a major brand in the luxury market, we have noticed a significant increase in interest in the prime London market, with many of our most sought-after properties selling off-market, or before they even hit the market.”

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Russian sanctions won’t hurt prime London claims high-end agent

High end estate agency Savills says the imposition of sanctions on Russians, amid new measures obliging overseas buyers to be more transparent about their wealth, will have little effect on the prime London housing market.

Mark Ridley, chief executive of Savills, says the company;’s own figures suggest 1.4 per cent of the housing wealth in prime central London is Russian owned,, while under 0.1 per cent of the agency’s own business came from Russia.

Earlier this week Savills said in relation to its own activities within Russia: “Savills is appalled by the scenes of humanitarian tragedy which are unfolding across Ukraine, has already made significant donations to humanitarian relief agencies working in the Ukraine and neighbouring countries to help alleviate this suffering and is supporting those of its people who are personally affected.”

Ridley’s comments come alongside Savills’ latest trading statement, which show record sales and profits for 2021.

The company – which operates in the commercial and consultancy fields around the world as well as selling high-end homes in some of the globe’s wealthiest countries – saw revenue rise 23 per cent last year to £2.1 billion.

Profits more than doubled to £183m and dividends included a special payment to shareholders to compensate for a cancelled payout at the start of the pandemic.

Ridley says it is “a thank you to shareholders who supported us”.

He adds: “Savills delivered a record performance in 2021 reflecting the significant recovery in both residential and commercial transactional markets supported by growth in our less transactional investment management, property management and consultancy businesses.

“The group has started 2022 in line with our expectations and the strength of our balance sheet supports our growth strategy to pursue further complementary acquisitions and significant recruitment across our global business.”