London properties, and particularly those in North London, are performing well and seeming to distinguish themselves as safe investments as UK house prices fall. While the rest of the country contends with falling property value growth rates, the capital is performing well with the highest house prices since records began.
The capital is also seeing some encouraging data from the stock market and from London estate agencies. On the FTSE 100 index, major London agent Foxtons has risen by a very impressive 49%. Online property portal Rightmove has risen almost as drastically, up 47%. Rival online property portal Zoopla, while not quite on the same level, is not to be sniffed at either with a rise of 31%.
As well as companies concerned in the selling of properties, those businesses that build homes are also performing well on the FTSE 100 at present. Growth levels in the same 30-50% bracket have been achieved by the likes of Taylor Wimpey, Persimmon and Berkeley.
While the UK as a whole is seeing house price growth fall to its slowest rate in two years after significant declines over the course of June, London remains pretty resilient. It is growing faster than anywhere else in the country, and recent figures from Nationwide show that the city’s house prices are up 7.3% compared to a year ago.
Foxtons’ North London director Alex Heiskanen said that “the North London market is strong this year” and “demand in the area significantly outgrows the supply.”
“Right now in our north offices,” Heiskanen continued, “we are seeing 31 buyers registered for every available property.” He therefore feels that this is a good time for investors to get involved in the North London property market, singling out Camden as an example of the kind of area that should be especially interesting.
“Having attracted consistent interest from investors over the last six to seven years due to its trendy appeal and great transport links,” he explained, “[Camden] still offers good value to buyers with more affordable prices per sq ft than the nearby areas of Hampstead or St John’s Wood.”
The strength of London’s property market is partially propped up by high volumes of investment from overseas. London has a strong international reputation as a secure market for UK property investment, and this has made it a choice market for investor-buyers from around the world. In particular, London is currently experiencing a surge of investment from the middle classes of Greece. Amidst the economic turmoil of their own country, many Greeks are looking for an overseas safe haven in which to put their money.
According to Black Brick’s Camilla Dell, a managing partner at the property agency, these Greek buyers “tend to be buying not terribly expensive properties and I wouldn’t say there was any one particular area they go for, just all around central London.”
“In terms of north London,” she continued, “Greeks really like St Johns Wood and all the mansion block buildings. It’s a good area as it’s close to the London Business School and the American school.”