Mass development or exclusive elegance?

Written on 18 January 2016 by Alistair Boscawen in Property News


Prime Minister David Cameron’s plans to directly commission the building of more than 13,000 new homes have done more to highlight the value of property in Belgravia, Knightsbridge, Mayfair and other parts of prime central London than any house price index could hope to achieve.   

In his New Year message, the Prime Minister said he would “kick-start the building of thousands of homes in a return to 1980s-style projects like the Docklands development”.

Mass development or exclusive eleganceDowning Street says construction of the first wave of these directly-commissioned homes, 40% of which will be designated as affordable, will be begin this year in Dover , Chichester, Gosport, Northstowe and near the Crossrail Interchange at Old Oak Common in north-west London.

The government has also committed £1.2bn to help developers detoxify brownfield land and allow 60,000 more homes to be built over the next five years.

As an independent estate and letting agent, we base our business model on a steady supply of high quality homes for sale and rent. We, therefore, welcome Communities Secretary Greg Clark’s announcement on BBC Radio Four that the government is “pulling out all the stops to get the country building”.

But while the delivery of approximately 3000 homes in Old Oak Common will be welcomed by the buyers who are fortunate enough to secure one of the houses on offer, it will do little to satisfy the wider demand for homes in the capital – or to affect the value of those properties.

International investors

Strict planning laws mean homes in Mayfair, Belgravia and other exclusive areas of central London are in short supply.

Their value also comes from the fact that many UK and international investors who buy property in prime London want an investment that was designed by a well-regarded architect and is at the centre of everything that is great about the UK capital, not an affordable brick box on a brownfield site.

A home in South Kensington, for example, places an owner in easy reach of London’s business centres, world-renowned educational facilities and its high-end retail stores that attract attention from all six inhabited continents.

When considering the housing situation in places such as Mayfair and Belgravia, it can be all too easy to overlook the simple reality of the fact that much of the demand for housing here is driven by the many benefits of living in this part of the capital.

According to the latest World Cities Culture Report, four out of five visitors to London cite the culture on offer as being their reason for choosing the city, and a home within a prime central district will be within easy reach of all the music, comedy, drama, dance and art on offer.

If your sights are set on entering the property market in prime central London, contact Best Gapp today. Our unrivalled local knowledge of Belgravia and the surrounding districts can help you secure the property of your dreams.

Alternatively, if a life in the peace and quiet of rural Cambridgeshire appeals why not explore Northstowe? We admit to being unaware of its location before a Google search revealed it is a former RAF base five miles north-west of Cambridge where a new town is in the planning stages.

Alistair Boscawen

Alistair has 32 years’ experience as an estate agent, starting in the country house department of one of London’s main international agencies before moving to the Knightsbridge house department of the same agency and learning the difference in values between freehold, long lease and short lease houses in Knightsbridge, Belgravia, Chelsea and Mayfair.

All articles by Alistair Boscawen

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