When it comes to selling your home, it helps hugely if you can get an insight into the mindset of buyers to find out the things they most desire.
For many, location will be a key consideration. And, more than that, the amenities on offer in the local area where they are looking to buy.
New research by a property website has now revealed the amenities that British people are most interested in – with some slightly surprising results.
The rising influence of budget supermarkets
For many years, British buyers have typically looked for homes which fall in the catchment area of a good or outstanding school. Now, though, a study suggests that proximity to discounter supermarkets such as Aldi and Lidl is a more important priority.
Some 39% of those surveyed said they would like to live close by to a budget supermarket, while only 29% prioritised a 'certain school catchment area'.
A budget supermarket nearby is most desirable among younger generations, with 54% of 18-24-year olds placing it top of their wish list. But this desire for a bargain steadily reduces among older generations, with the study revealing that only 34% of over-45s long for a budget supermarket on their doorstep.
The lure of attractive surroundings
Budget supermarkets might be rising in popularity, but they weren't quite the most desirable amenity. That honour was bestowed upon scenic views (44%), with local restaurants/bars (37%), traditional pubs (36%) and independent shops (34%) also making the top five.
Meanwhile, high-end supermarkets such as Waitrose and Marks & Spencer are still popular (32%), while a 'certain school catchment area', access to walking trails, coffee shops and a local library completed the top 10.
It's important to remember that, even though this research suggests that the desirability of a home in a good catchment area is waning, it’s still likely to be a key consideration for many buyers – particularly those with young or nearly school-age children, and those thinking of starting a family soon.
South East London offers something for everyone
Every buyer is different, but there are some things that prove universally popular and timeless. This list includes good access to supermarkets, plenty of green space nearby, strong transport links, a varied selection of eateries and independent shops, excellent schools and local community facilities such as libraries and parks.
Fortunately, the areas we operate in at Living in London – Bermondsey, Surrey Quays, Canada Water and Rotherhithe – offer these must-have amenities in abundance. From stunning scenic views over the Thames to ample green space, South East London certainly scores highly when it comes to the features that buyers are most likely to desire.
What’s more, transport links in this part of town are superb – with Canary Wharf (one stop away) and ‘The City’ both easily accessible from Canada Water on the Jubilee Line. This makes it an ideal base for young professionals who work in one of the world's key financial hubs. As well as Tube connections, commuters also benefit from London Overground services, reliable bus routes and National Rail links from this part of the capital.
Easy access to all ‘London Airports’ is available, especially to City Airport, while the incoming Elizabeth Line includes a stop at Canary Wharf. Once the line is operational, commute times from here to Central London and Heathrow will be slashed, while it will be easier than ever to reach the suburbs in East and West London, Essex and Berkshire. Given Canada Water’s proximity to Canary Wharf, the Elizabeth Line will be another bow to add to our areas’ superb transport links.
If it’s traditional pubs, bars and restaurants you’re after, then South East London also comes up trumps. The best of these are The Brunel, The Mayflower Pub, The Angel and The Ship
Culture vultures are also well catered for, with this part of the capital being home to the Brunel Museum and the London Bubble Theatre, as well as a number of historical landmarks – namely the Swan Road Mosaic Mural and the Moated Manor House of King Edward III.
As for green space, Southwark Park, Stave Hill Ecological Park and Russia Docks Woodland more than cater for the desire for a place to breathe, relax and escape from London’s famous hustle and bustle.
In addition, Canada Water is home to a fantastic library (the impressively designed and simply named Canada Water Library), which is open every day and offers weekly and monthly activities for both adults and children. And, of course, like all parts of London, there is no shortage of coffee shops on offer – from chains like Starbucks to brilliant independents like the Canada Water Cafe.
As we’ve mentioned in previous blogs, Canada Water and Rotherhithe are undergoing significant regeneration – with significant investment being pumped into the former as a result of the Canada Water Masterplan while the proposed foot (and cycle) bridge between Rotherhithe and Canary Wharf continues to generate excitement.
Work with an experienced local agent
To improve your chances of selling your home, it’s crucial that your marketing campaign points out the various local amenities on offer – such as transport links, local schools, supermarkets, pubs, restaurants, green space and coffee shops – as these could all help to convince a buyer to make an offer.
It's also important to partner with a reputable local agent to ensure you set the right asking price for your home. Go too high and you could deter buyers; set it too low and you risk selling yourself and your property short.
To discuss your options in greater detail, you can get in contact with Living in London on: 020 7231 0002.
We also provide free instant online valuations to give you an idea of how much your property is worth in the current market.
As we enter a new year, thoughts often turn to new starts and fresh beginnings. For many, buying or selling a home will be high up on their list of New Year’s resolutions.
But, if you’re planning on selling a home in the year ahead, what do you need to know?
Below, using our experience of operating in the busy, lively south-east London housing market, we take a closer look…
Now is a good time to sell
For a long while now, the post-Christmas boom in property market activity has been something to hang your hat on – reliable and guaranteed. Interest and hesitant buying plans formed over the festive period are now enacted upon, leading to a very busy period for the property market in the first three months of the year.
The property portals typically enjoy record traffic in the time between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, with people using the extra free time at their disposal to browse for properties or tentatively put their home-buying plans into action.
Figures for this Christmas suggest that Rightmove experienced record visitor numbers on Boxing Day, some 25,147,701 pages viewed according to a tweet by the property firm.
What’s more, the Daily Mail claimed that more than two million people trawled through multiple Rightmove listings on Boxing Day, while the paper also said there were 40 million online viewings of homes, compared to 38 million on the same day in 2017.
Put simply, the number of eyes on your property at this time of the year is likely to be much higher, which in turn will improve your chances of selling with relative ease. If you haven’t already listed your home, now is a good time to act to take advantage of the traditional surge in buyer interest at this time of the year.
Brexit certainty could bring market stability
The uncertainty caused by Brexit has undoubtedly had an impact on many parts of life, and property hasn’t been immune from that. A RICS report released just before Christmas suggested that many buyers and sellers were electing to sit tight until the position over Brexit became clearer, while there has been much talk about the dampening effect the political turmoil in Westminster has had on house prices, particularly at the higher end of the London market.
Although the property market has largely batted off political and economic issues in recent years – taking a business as usual approach even in the face of referendums, snap general elections and prolonged withdrawal negotiations – it is still one that thrives more when certainty and stability are the order of the day.
For now, it’s little surprise that some buyers and sellers are holding back, but greater clarity over the final withdrawal agreement would no doubt lead to a more confident, assured sector. The current situation is still highly unclear, with everything from a no deal Brexit to a second referendum still on the table, but hopefully we will know more once the meaningful vote on Theresa May’s Brexit deal has taken place (scheduled for the week starting January 14).
On the upside from a seller’s point of view, the fundamentals of the market remain the same – with demand still hugely outstripping supply – which means that sellers are still in a good position when it comes to negotiating on asking prices, especially in London.
Prices should continue to rise
Despite the B-word hanging over all aspects of life, most property experts are predicting house price rises in 2019 – or at the very least no change.
That should particularly be the case in property hotspots such as Canada Water, a part of South East London which is being hailed as one to watch out for in the year to come thanks to substantial regeneration works in the pipeline.
Long in the shadow of near neighbour Canary Wharf, the former dockside area had been rather neglected until recently. Now, as well as being home to excellent transport links, easy access to the Thames, foodie hubs such as Hawker House and close proximity to London Bridge, Borough and Elephant & Castle, it is also becoming a commuter hotspot.
The Canada Water Masterplan, which we outlined in a previous blog, is driving the area’s increasing popularity, and its status as one of the Mayor of London’s Opportunity Areas is also helping to attract buyer interest.
This, of course, can be used to your advantage if you are selling a home in the local area. Ensure that you make use of the exciting redevelopment it is undergoing when trying to sell your home. The great transport links on offer (not just Jubilee Line, but London Overground services too) should also play a key role in your sales pitch to prospective buyers.
It’s not just Canada Water, either – the other areas we operate in (Bermondsey, Surrey Quays and Rotherhithe) also have plenty going for them and plenty to attract those looking for London living slightly away from the hustle and bustle of the capital’s busiest areas.
How much could your property be worth this year?
Here at Living in London, we provide instant online valuations to give you an idea of what your home is currently worth.
In 2019, like any other year, it’s important that you set your asking price at the right level to avoid putting off would-be buyers or selling yourself short.
It’s also vital that you work closely with a reputable local estate agent to ensure you avoid overvaluing, which could prohibit your chances of securing a sale.
If you would like to discuss your options in greater detail, you can contact Living in London on 020 7231 0002.
An experienced local agent with an excellent knowledge of the area they operate in – including price trends, buying demographics, and the best times of the year to sell a property – can drastically improve your chances of setting a realistic price, generating significant buyer demand and achieving a quick and painless sale at the right price.
How to choose the right estate agent
These days, there is no excuse for not carrying out thorough research and due diligence on any agent you instruct. As well as an estate agency’s website, you can also check through their social media accounts to see how they advertise and market properties. What’s more, you can analyse agent review sites to see how your agent stacks up against the competition. There are pros and cons to review sites, but they generally offer a good indication of an agent’s overall reputation.
Another good marker of an agency’s standing is awards – and, more to the point, how often an agency has been rewarded for, say, their excellent customer service or high levels of professionalism. Here at Living London, we’ve been delighted to receive a number of awards for our work in recent months, including Best Property Letting Agency of 2019 at the 2018/2019 Global Business Insight Awards and ‘Best Independent Estate Agency 2019 - London Borough of Southwark’ in the 3rd annual UK Enterprise Awards.
As well as awards, research and reviews, good old-fashioned word-of-mouth and recommendations from friends, family or colleagues still have a role to play when it comes to choosing the right agent. If, for example, an agent has done a fantastic job of selling a home – for the best possible price – for a close relative or family friend, it stands to reason that they will provide a similar service for you. Estate agency is still an industry that is largely built on reputation, in a similar way to restaurants or hotels. It’s why we place such value on customer service and the client experience, to ensure we get return custom and that customers would be willing to recommend us to other people.
How to set the right price
One of the most important things to get right when selling a home is the price, and as we said above it’s a difficult balancing act. This is where your agent (should) come into play. They will understand the local market trends and be able to set the price at a level which is appropriate and most likely to generate considerable demand from buyers.
At Living in London we offer instant online valuations to provide you with a general idea of what your home is currently worth (these valuations aren’t always 100% accurate for a number of reasons, but they act as a good guide), and we also offer a more accurate face-to-face property specific valuation by way of a free no obligation appraisal/valuation undertaken by one of our professional, knowledgeable and experienced valuers.
Don’t just take our word for it
In a recent blog, we highlighted research from property website Zoopla, which revealed that the first hour of a property’s listing on a portal is the most important when it comes to generating leads, with the highest number of consumers expressing an interest in a property within the first 59 minutes of the listing going live.
Further, these interested parties are those who have taken time to register for ‘new property alerts’ as well as very actively monitor the market, as such are very motivated and keen buyers, which is exactly what agents and sellers should be trying to attract.
Advertising a property at over the true market value often won’t register with these such buyers as they may have set a ‘search price of up to 525k’, and a property worth 525k, but being advertised at 575k, won’t reach such motivated buyers. In the likelihood of not selling at 575k, and where a price drop is required down to 525k, some of the buyers who would have been interested are no longer active as have purchased alternative properties, and the property now may look a little ‘stale’ (depending on how long it has been advertised for) and ‘desperate’ (by having a price drop) which can often lead to buyers asking….’Why a price drop, what’s wrong with the property?’, this then may lead to buyers placing offers lower than they may have done had the property come on initially at this ‘true value price’.
As such, it’s vital that you get your pricing right from the off so as not to dissuade prospective buyers, and when you do get the initial interest and offers, don’t dismiss such offers or question if the property may be worth more, as (provided your agent has done their job accurately) this is exactly the time you should be getting offers as this is when the most interest will be generated and the majority of potential buyers been reached.
Canada Water/ Surrey Quays/ SE16
Sellers in the South East London area will also have been boosted by the results from a study which found that prices here are set to rise faster than most of Greater London in the next few years as a result of substantial ongoing regeneration – in particular through the £4 billion Canada Water Masterplan.
Thinking of selling, letting, buying or renting, or already on the market
If you would like to discuss your options in greater detail, and find out more about selling, letting, buying or renting a home in Canada Water, Surrey Quays or the surrounding areas, you can contact Living in London on: 020 7231 0002.
The study, from global property firm JLL, predicts that house prices in South East London are set to increase faster than much of Greater London in the coming years thanks to significant regeneration throughout the area.
A sizeable part of this regeneration is formed around the Canada Water Masterplan – the progress of which we recently covered – which accounts for 3,000 of the 31,000 new homes currently in the pipeline in this part of the capital.
The £4 billion British Land project, which is set to complete its first phase in 2022 and be fully completed by 2033, is aiming to transform Canada Water, Surrey Quays and the surrounding areas, with two million square feet of workspace and one million square feet of retail, leisure, entertainment and community space, including a new high street and a new relocated Tesco store.
There will also be 15 acres of open space, including a new town square and park, as well as some 20,000 jobs up for grabs once the project has reached its conclusion.
In addition, the project will transform the fortunes of historic buildings such as Surrey Quays Shopping Centre and Surrey Quays Leisure Park, as well as the former Harmsworth Quays Printworks and the former Rotherhithe police station.
The buzz and hype surrounding Canada Water is already having an impact on house prices, with Zoopla data suggesting that the current average values of homes in the area have been rising steadily over the last 12 months, while in Surrey Quays it’s a very similar story.
As well as the Canada Water Masterplan, the area could also be transformed by the proposed Rotherhithe to Canary Wharf Bridge – London’s first pedestrian and cycle bridge and a great way of linking one of the capital’s most up-and-coming areas with an already well-established global hub.
What else could boost house prices?
It’s not just regeneration that can help to increase house prices, home staging can too. In fact, a recent survey from The Home Staging Association UK & Ireland found that 38% of property sellers said home staging increased the offer value on their home by 1-3%, while a further 16% cited a 7-10% rise in offer value.
Some 85% of those responding said that a staged home sells up to three times faster and achieve a higher price.
As we can see, effective staging can have a significant impact on both the price achieved and the speed at which a sale can happen. Preparing your property so it looks its best is something you can do, or something which can be outsourced to a specialist staging company.
How much is your property currently worth?
It’s hugely important, when selling your home, to set a fair, accurate and realistic asking price. Set it too low and your risk selling yourself and your property short, but set it too high and it will put buyers off.
Recent research from Zoopla shows that the first hour of a property's listing on a portal is the most crucial when it comes to generating leads.
According to the property website, the highest proportion of consumers express an interest in a property and are classified as leads within the first 59 minutes of the listing going live.
This therefore reinforces why it is so crucial to get your pricing right from the start so as not to deter prospective buyers.
To help you on your way, we provide instant online valuations to give you an idea of what your home is currently worth. While these valuations aren’t always 100% accurate, they give you a good idea and guide to what your home could go for.
If you require a more accurate face-to-face property specific valuation, we suggest you contact us to arrange a free no obligation appraisal/valuation.
It’s also vitally important that you work with an experienced, local estate agent – and here at Living in London we can provide the expertise, local knowledge and skillset to help you get the best possible price for your home.
To discuss your options in greater detail, and learn more about selling a home in Canada Water or Surrey Quays, you can contact Living in London on 020 7231 0002.
But what is the latest state of play for a project that is set to complete its first phase in 2022?
What is the Masterplan?
First things first, a quick recap. The Canada Water Masterplan, set to be fully completed by 2033, will provide new shops, restaurants, bars, leisure facilities and entertainment venues, as well as thousands of new homes and a large quantity of workspace to an area that is already a popular, well-connected commuter hub.
The project – which plans to create a new urban centre for SE16 - is still subject to receiving planning permission from Southwark Council, but British Land (the developer behind the proposals) hopes to secure this soon. The planning application is set to be heard at Southwark Council’s Planning Committee in the coming months.
British Land recently submitted some minor changes to the Masterplan planning application, with Southwark Council undertaking statutory consultation on these revisions between mid-March and early April 2019.
The major advantages of the project, however, remain the same. These include:
- 3,000 new homes in total, with 265 homes across the first two residential buildings that make up the first phase of the development, and 35% of these bracketed as affordable housing.
- New health and education space to improve the social and community infrastructure in the Canada Water area.
- A wide range of significant community benefits, including a new police hub and a replacement leisure centre for Seven Islands.
- Two million square feet of workspace and one million square feet of retail, leisure, entertainment and community space, including a new high street and a new relocated Tesco store.
- 15 acres of open space, including a new town square, park and ecological improvements to the western edge of Canada Water Dock.
New low-cost workspace to open in Canada Water
As well as the ongoing preparation works for the Canada Water Masterplan, a new (temporary) low-cost workspace will open its doors, located on the site of the former Flame Grill restaurant in Surrey Quays Leisure Park.
The disused space will be converted into ‘a multi-functional workspace suitable for a variety of start-ups and small-scale businesses’, known as Thrive.
It will be operated by Tree Shepherd, in partnership with British Land, as part of the wider ‘Start Up and Thrive’ programme which has been aiding local entrepreneurs for the last year and a half.
It’s a further example of a thriving area working for the benefit of all demographics, and goes hand-in-hand with the Canada Water Masterplan’s goal to transform a commuter hub into a place that can act as an employment base in its own right, with a thriving new town centre and a previously rundown area fully regenerated.
An area with considerable potential
There must have been a reason why British Land chose Canada Water for such a substantial regeneration project – its geographic location, existing infrastructure and popularity among buyers and renters makes it ripe for improvement and enhancement.
Transport links are already superb, Surrey Quays shopping centre ensures excellent local amenities are on hand, Hawker House food market is a foodie hotspot, and the Thames is right on the doorstep – but the Canada Water Masterplan will help to elevate the area to a higher plain than ever before.
How much could your Canada Water property be worth?
It’s difficult to give an exact figure or percentage of how much the Masterplan will affect prices of existing properties. Whilst it will raise people’s awareness of Canada Water, as well as the number of amenities, which will attract more people wanting to live and purchase property in the area, there will be an increase in the property supply and therefore the amount of people and traffic, all of which could have a negative impact.
We predict that the desirability increase will outweigh the negatives and therefore prices of existing properties will increase. Of course, other factors such as Brexit and government changes to the private rental sector and taxation will play a part, but we are of the belief that the sales market and prices in the area will perform strongly over the coming years. We are already seeing the ‘green shoots’ of this with demand increasing from end users as well as investors becoming active again.
How much is your property currently worth?
Here at Living in London, we provide instant online valuations to give you an idea of what your home is currently worth (for rental or sales). Although these valuations aren’t always as accurate as we would like, they give you an idea. Should you wish for a more accurate face to face property specific valuation, we suggest you contact us to arrange a free no obligation appraisal/valuation.
If you are planning or thinking of bringing your property to the sales market, or if it is currently on the market, we stress the importance of ensuring you set your asking price at the right level to avoid putting off prospective buyers or having to ‘chase the market’ with price drops. Equally, you don’t want to sell yourself short by undervaluing.
It’s also vital that you work closely with a reputable local estate agent who has specific area knowledge and a track record of selling properties similar to yours, so to give you the best chance of selling your property at the right price and in the right timescale for you.
To discuss your options in greater detail, and to learn more about the big redevelopment plans for Surrey Quays and Canada Water, you can contact Living in London on 020 7231 0002
In December last year, four landlords per average letting agency branch quit the market and sold up – with an even higher figure in London. The number of landlords in the capital selling their properties hit six per branch during December.
The trade body’s Private Rented Sector report also found that the supply of rental property across England was down 4% year-on-year.
Why are they leaving?
As we alluded to above, landlords have in recent years faced a raft of new regulation and legislation designed to make buy-to-let investment less attractive.
This hasn’t only included an extra 3% stamp duty surcharge on second and buy-to-let homes and the slow withdrawal of tax relief, but also changes to the Wear and Tear Allowance, new energy efficiency regulations and tighter restrictions on buy-to-let lending.
As letting agents operating in London, we fully understand the challenges and issues being faced by landlords and sympathise with those who feel they have no choice but to leave the market.
And with the government seemingly remaining intent on punishing landlords further – despite the rapid growth of the private rented sector and an increase in renting across all demographics – there may be fears that things won’t get any easier.
Those thinking of entering the market may, too, be put off if they believe there will be more difficulties than rewards.
However, with the right type of rental homes in the right kind of market, landlords can still achieve good yields and make a decent return on their investment.
Demand high in up-and-coming areas
Here at Living in London, we operate in a number of areas which enjoy high demand from tenants – whether it’s young professionals opting for Canada Water or Surrey Quays as an ideal base for their daily commute to Canary Wharf or The City, or creatives and foodies looking to enjoy the breweries, food markets, art galleries and design studios of Bermondsey and London Bridge.
In all our locations, there is plenty to recommend to tenants – from bars and restaurants, to green space, riverside walks, great pubs and independent coffee shops.
As a landlord operating in these areas, you should have little trouble filling your rental homes with good, reliable tenants.
What’s more, with property here being cheaper than other parts of London, your yields won’t be squeezed as as much as they would be in more expensive areas of the capital.
To help you get the most from your tenancies, you need to partner with an experienced, reliable local letting agent, who can help you keep on top of all new and existing regulation and legislation, occupy your home with good tenants and manage the whole process throughout to keep issues and stress to a minimum.
A long-term reliable asset class
Property has often been considered the go-to asset class for many investors looking to make solid, reliable long-term returns.
One of the key reasons for this is due to high tenant demand which means landlords can fill their properties quickly and keep void periods to a minimum.
What’s more, all the recent evidence points to demand for rental homes continuing to rise. It’s been widely reported that there is a growing number of middle-aged and family renters who are helping to swell the private rented sector to a greater size than ever before.
The most recent English Housing Survey confirms that nearly 20% of households now rent privately, making it the second largest form of tenure in the country. In London, meanwhile, private renting is the biggest form of tenure, with nearly 30% of households living in privately rented accommodation.
And this is only set to grow in the coming years, with predictions that approximately 25% of households will be renting by 2021.
Meanwhile, for those with a firm eye on capital gains, the continued resilience of London house prices is a cause for optimism. Despite the issues caused by chronic Brexit uncertainty, prices in the capital rose by 3.4% in February, according to Rightmove’s latest house price report.
Working with property experts is essential
As our agency was created by three landlords who all own property in London, we have a special understanding of what it takes to ensure a smooth tenancy, as well as the importance of tailoring our services directly to landlords. We’re also well aware of the challenges landlords face and well-equipped to help you overcome these obstacles and thrive in the current market.
Our property management team takes care of the tenancy throughout, while we have a team of experts to ensure your property is occupied with the right tenants from the start.
We also offer high-profile marketing to make sure your homes get the exposure they deserve, while our Canada Water office has an unrivalled location inside Canada Water tube station, ensuring that the number of eyes on your home (via our state-of-the-art interactive touchscreen display and dynamic window cards) is huge.
For more information on the services we offer, get in touch with us on: 020 7231 0002.
We also provide instant online valuations so you can see how much your property is worth on the current market.