There has been a lot written about the slowdown in the London real estate markets since the UK voted to leave the European Union, but new research shows some locations are seeing robust demand.
Among them is the residential market in the Canary Wharf area where property firm JLL report strong sales and lettings demand with a good supply of properties coming on to the market, ensuring continued stability in the face of ongoing political and economic uncertainty.
‘While property values aren’t increasing significantly at the moment, they are remaining stable, and this combined with the high level of homes on the market really makes the area an attractive proposition both for buyers looking for a wide choice at a fair price, as well as those keen to secure a good long term investment,’ said Bernard Cully, associate director at JLL in the City and Canary Wharf.
He explained that the majority are owner occupiers who live or work in Canary Wharf and the surrounding areas, with local and overseas investors making up around 20% of sales agreed over the past three months.
‘The final weeks of the year are traditionally quite strong, with prospective buyers and sellers trying to conclude transactions ahead of the festive slowdown. It’s this time of year when agents and solicitors need to work cohesively to ensure that completion dates are met,’ he pointed out.
However, in the rental market, the high levels of activity experienced during the summer continued throughout October and into November, but the flow of applicants has subsided somewhat since the start of November, according to Neil Short, head of City residential at JLL.
‘With applicant registrations slowing, we have seen examples of landlords undercutting one another in order to get their properties let quickly. This underlines the importance of landlords being competitive on pricing and presentation of their properties in order to secure new tenants moving in the right side of Christmas and to minimise void periods,’ he explained.
It has been claimed that the market has been subdued in other parts of London by recent changes in stamp duty but according to Richard Barber, director at W.A. Ellis, part of the JLL Group, there has been a surge of new business.
‘In the last quarter of 2016 we have seen more high value sales and renewed confidence from buyers. It’s likely some of the activity can be attributed to the weaker pound against the dollar and we have seen funds seeking safe haven from both Turkey and Thailand,’ he said.
‘Domestic purchasers, however, seem to have accepted higher rates of stamp duty and are taking advantage of vendors’ eagerness to negotiate prior to Christmas,’ he added.
He also pointed out that 2016 has been a tumultuous year for the property market within London, particularly in the run up to the referendum. ‘However, it remains to be seen whether the transactions that we are seeing at the moment are just the result of a pre-Christmas blip, or a more sustained uptick in transactional volume,’ he added.
‘The market fundamentals in Chelsea, Kensington, Belgravia and Knightsbridge are strong, and while demand from buyers is more discretionary than needs based, we should experience a steadier market going into 2017,’ he concluded.
The firm has also seen strength in the lettings market. ‘It generally quietens down towards the end of October until early December when there is a flurry of activity from tenants wanting to settle before Christmas. However, we have secured double the amount of lettings compared to the corresponding period last year,’ said Lucy Morton, head of residential agency at W.A. Ellis.