In Midtown and the City, there was no overhang of new stock directed at the investment market, but rather a collection of niche or boutique developments aimed at owner-occupiers. Even in the recession, proportionally fewer office jobs were lost in the greater diversity of sectors present in Midtown and the City fringes compared to the City Core and Canary Wharf. As a result the demand side saw less of a downturn in these two sub-markets and the evidence indicates that demand from owner-occupiers has recovered most rapidly here. In Bloomsbury, the sale of three bedroom mansion block flats has been particularly strong between £650,000 and £1 million.
Another factor, related to the availability of cash or equity, is the ageprofile of typical buyers in the three sub-markets. In our experience, have had less time to build up cash savings, inheritances or to generate equity through past price increases in the property market. Docklands was a mortgage-driven market, whether for owneroccupiers or investors, and mortgages in the first half of 2009 were like gold dust. Docklands is not likely to significantly recover until the banks begin to offer mass-market mortgage products at attractive rates.
On the other hand, the profile of Midtown and City buyers has tended to be older. Often these buyers have substantial cash savings that can be combined with equity from other property and other sources to purchase property outright, or with very limited borrowings. They are not risk-laden first-time or investor buyers, but rather established individuals, couples and families undertaking their third or fourth purchase of a principal private residence. This demand profile helped to sustain transaction levels in the first half of 2009.
The fact that the City’s residential market has been less affected than other areas by the downturn in the current cycle, demonstrates the growing maturity of the residential market. It is worth remembering that when Hurford Salvi Carr first opened in Clerkenwell in 1996, there was only a limited number of homes in the City, predominantly in the Barbican. 13 years later, over 10,000 people live within a short walk of St Paul’s Cathedral and demand for homes outstrips supply. buyers in Docklands have tended to be younger. As a result, they
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