Posts tagged ‘London’

London’s ‘floating village’ to include right to extend homes

Plans for a ‘floating village’ in London will include the right for homeowners to extend their properties, it has been revealed.

15.08.14 Float 3

The village in London’s Royal Docks was announced by the Mayor Boris Johnson earlier this year, with the aim of transforming the 15 acres of water with homes, restaurants and bars.

And today, the Mayor’s office exclusively told Zoopla that anyone who buys a property on the site will be able to apply to the borough for planning permission.

“Homeowners would have to apply to the borough for planning permission as per normal procedures when people want to build extensions,” a spokesman for the Mayor’s office said.

15.08.14 Float 2With the city running out of places to live, the project is seen as a welcome addition to the capital, with London’s Mayor Boris Johnson describing it as having ‘the potential to become one of the most sought after addresses in the capital”.

A total of 50 homes are expected to be built, with their bases being constructed off-site and then transported by water into place – the planning application for which will be submitted to Newham Council in the spring next year.

A floating walkway will lead back to land, where the city plans a much larger development with tens of thousands of homes.

In the past, the Royal Docks have serviced hundreds of cargo and passenger ships each day. But they have not been in use for several decades and so it is hoped that the floating village will restore London’s docklands to their former glory.

15.08.14 Float 4

August 15, 2014 at 2:01 PM Leave a comment

Home owner confidence high despite it being ‘more difficult’ to get a mortgage

Nine out of 10 home owners expect house prices to rise in the next six months despite almost half saying getting a mortgage is more difficult than three months ago, Zoopla reveals.

29.07.14 House prices

As many as 92 per cent of home owners are confident that the value of their property will increase during the rest of this year, according to the latest Zoopla Housing Market Sentiment Survey.

The average prediction is that values will rise 7.6 per cent during this period.

It comes amid growing concern that the introduction of tighter mortgage rules is stalling the housing market, with the survey suggesting four out of every 10 home owners believing getting a mortgage is now harder than three months ago.

However, the new rules are not putting the brakes on Britons carrying out home improvements with 79 per cent of home owners planning to spend at the least the same or more on doing up their properties.

However, one significant shift is in the outlook among London home owners, who are no longer the most confident in the country about house prices in their area.

The proportion of home owners in the capital expecting prices to rise in the next six months has fallen from 98 per cent to 92 per cent in the last three months. It follows a sharp increase in London, where average house prices have climbed £63,069 to £567,392.

The Zoopla survey found that the South East, the South West, the East of England and the West Midlands have all overtaken the capital in terms of homeowner confidence.

Zoopla’s Lawrence Hall said: “After months of consistent growth in the capital’s property market we are now seeing a slight increase in caution among London’s homeowners. More broadly, securing a mortgage appears to be getting harder now that the Mortgage Market Review has caused lenders to be more rigorous with their lending criteria and approval process.”



Region Rise (%) Flat (%) Fall (%)
South West England 95% 4% 2%
South East England 95% 2% 2%
East of England 93% 6% 4%
West Midlands 93% 5% 3%
Wales 92% 5% 4%
London 92% 3% 5%
Yorkshire and The Humber 91% 6% 4%
North West England 90% 7% 3%
East Midlands 90% 6% 4%
Scotland 90% 6% 4%
North East England 87% 8% 5%

Source: (July 2014)


July 29, 2014 at 10:27 AM Leave a comment

London house prices rising at ‘double the rate’ of rest of Britain

London house prices are rising at double the rate of those in the rest of the UK as different factors drive the capital’s property market.


The typical cost of a home in London soared by 17 per cent during the year to the end of April, according to the Land Registry.

But the next highest level of growth was just 7.8 per cent in the East, while in the North East and Wales prices edged ahead by just 2.9 per cent and 3 per cent respectively.

The London property market has traditionally led the rest of the UK, with housing market recoveries and booms typically starting in the capital, before rippling out to other regions.

But the difference in price growth has now become so great that commentators are questioning whether it is still accurate to talk about the UK housing market as a whole.

House prices in London are now 25 per cent above their pre-correction peak, while in parts of prime central London they are 55 per cent higher.

But in other part of the country prices remain well down on previous levels, with property values in Wales and the North East still 15 per cent lower than they were before the correction.

30.06.14 Wales

Property prices in Wales remain below their pre-correction levels

Matthew Pointon, property economist at Capital Economics, pointed out that the dynamics driving the London market were very different to those in the rest of Britain.

He said: “The London economy is outperforming the rest of the UK and there is a lot of migration coming in.

“The supply and demand is even tighter in London than the rest of the country and there is the problem of foreign demand as well.”

He added: “I don’t think it has ever been accurate to lump [London and the rest of the UK] all together.”

Foreign demand is having a significant impact on the London market, with overseas buyers snapping up properties in the capital.

By contrast in the rest of the UK, first-time buyers are the driving force of the market.

Nitesh Patel, Halifax housing economist, said:“The London housing market is very different from the rest of the UK. In the prime locations of central London demand is driven by high net worth individuals many of who are cash-rich foreign buyers.

“London as a whole has a population density that is 21 times larger than the British average – 5,285 people per square km, compared to 253 per square km for the UK.”

He said the growing imbalance between housing demand and supply was adding upward pressure on the value of homes in the capital.

But in the regions, the economic recovery is only just becoming more firmly established, and has yet to lead to a significant decline in unemployment.

Ray Boulger 2Ray Boulger, senior technical manager at mortgage broker John Charcol, pointed out that having such diverse property markets created a headache for policy makers.

He said: “You might in an ideal world want to have different economic policies for rest of Britain as you have for London, but Britain is in the same position as the ECB and has to have one policy for whole country area.”

Richard SextonRichard Sexton, director of e.surv chartered surveyors, agreed.

He said: “The distinctive market in the capital continues to cloud the waters. Outside the cash-rich London and the South East, many regions are still in the early days of the recovery.”

He pointed out that housing markets in areas like the North East and North West were far more ‘sedate’, with first time buyers playing a key role in keeping the property market aloft.

He said: “With the capital dominated by foreign investors and buy-to-let landlords, there’s been an intensifying clamour for intervention.

“But any action must be prudent, to avoid any negative impact on the more susceptible areas of the country.”

June 30, 2014 at 3:59 PM Leave a comment

Hundreds of JCB diggers buried underground – London’s property development legacy?

So how do you solve a problem like ‘digger’? A small JCB digger that is. Used to dig an increasing number of basements in London and the South East, the challenge is getting them out once the work is finished. Developers are turning to an alternative solution to the problem.

06.06.14 Digger 2

Image via Till Krech.

The development of so-called “iceberg” homes has soared across London as homeowners who seek more space have no option but to build downwards due to the capital’s planning rules that restrict building upwards.

The luxury basements often include swimming pools, cinemas and studies – and require huge amounts of building work that can only be completed with a small digger.

06.06.14 Digger 1The difficulty is getting the machine out again as the digger often has to go so deep into the earth that it is unable to drive out again.

Developers would often use a large crane to scoop up the digger from the large hole, but now they are no longer bothering with this approach. Instead, they are simply buried in the ground with a layer of concrete.

One developer has suggested that as many as 1,000 diggers may now be buried in London.

Ed Smith explains in the New Statesman: “A new solution emerged: simply bury the digger in its own hole. Given the exceptional profits of London property development, why bother with the expense and hassle of retrieving a used digger – worth only £5,000 or £6,000 – from the back of a house that would soon be sold for several million? The time and money expended on rescuing a digger were better spent moving on to the next big deal.”

“This metallic icon was a special sacrificial gesture”?

“The new method, now considered standard operating practice, is to cover the digger with ‘hardcore’, a mixture of sand and gravel. Then a layer of concrete is simply poured over the top.

“Digger? What digger? The digger has literally dug its own grave – just as the boring machines that excavated the Channel Tunnel were abandoned beneath the passage they had just created.”

He concludes by imagining an archaeological programme chancing upon the diggers many years from now: “What will the explanatory caption say? ‘Situated immediately adjacent to the heated underground swimming pool and cinema at the back of the house, no superior London address was complete without one of these highly desirable icons, sometimes nicknamed ;the Compact Cat’. This metallic icon was a special sacrificial gesture, a symbol of deep thanks to the most discussed, revered and pre-eminent god of the age, worshipped around the world: London Property.'”


June 6, 2014 at 1:59 PM 3 comments

House price growth reaches double digits

Annual house price growth hit double digits for the first time in four years during April, figures showed today.

House prices

The average cost of a home rose by 10.9 per cent during the year to the end of April, the highest rate since July 2007 and the first double-digit year-on-year gain since April 2010.

Prices rose by 1.2 per cent during the month itself, leaving the typical property costing £183,577, according to Nationwide.

At the same time, figures released by the Bank of England showed mortgage lending remained strong during March, with total advances soaring 31 per cent compared with the same month of 2013 to reach £16.77bn.

Net mortgage lending, which strips out repayments and people switching lender, was £1.79bn, the highest level since January 2012.

But there were further falls in both the number and value of mortgages approved for house purchase for the second consecutive month.

A total of 67,135 loans for people buying a home were in the pipeline during March, down from 76,251 in January, but still 25 per cent up on a year earlier.

Today’s mortgage figures are likely to help calm concerns that a bubble could be building up in the property market following a run of strong data on house prices.

The slow down in mortgage approvals suggests property market activity is beginning to moderate as pent up demand that build up during the recession works it way through the system.

Today’s figures come the day after the Land Registry said house prices fell by 0.4 per cent in March, although prices were still 5.6 per cent above their level in March 2013.

Robert Gardner Chief EconomistRobert Gardner, Nationwide’s chief economist, said: “The introduction of Mortgage Market Review measures could have an impact on activity levels in the months ahead as the new measures bed down.

“However, underlying demand is likely to remain robust, as mortgage rates remain close to all-time lows and as consumer confidence improves further on the back of stronger labour market conditions and the brighter economic outlook.”

But he added that house price growth was continuing to outstrip income growth by a wide margin, and unless the supply of property accelerated significantly, affordability was likely to become stretched.

Nationwide said price growth continued to be driven by London and the South East.

House prices in London were around 20 per cent higher than their pre-crisis levels in the first quarter of the year, while across the UK as a whole values were still around 2 per cent below their peak.

Properties in London for sale:

1. Three bedroom flat in Marylebone for £7m

01.05.14 London 1


2. Three bedroom semi-detached house in Harrow for £409,950

01.05.14 London 2

3. Two bedroom flat in SW6 for £840,000

01.05.14 London 3


May 1, 2014 at 11:25 AM Leave a comment

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