By Graham Norwood.
A leading buying agency says that while prime central London’s property market shows clear signs of recovery, a weak area remains apartments without outside space.
Camilla Dell, founder and managing partner of Black Brick Property Solutions, says: “Not all apartments are equal. We are seeing an upturn in demand for apartments, but buyers are far more discerning than before the pandemic. Outside space and proximity to a good local high street are top of buyers wish lists. We are seeing a very tough market for sellers of ex-rental stock located in older new builds, some with cladding issues and which are poorly located and without outside space. There is no market for them, no matter how cheap they become.”
Dell continues “Unfortunately, not all apartments will make the London-wide comeback a lot of sellers are hoping for. Buy to let has lost its attraction for many private Landlords, meaning ex-rentals are flooding the market with an added surge in apartment listings; supply is at an all-time high, while demand is selective and lacking.
“So unfortunately, unless apartment listings are located near green space, and a great high street they are likely to be difficult to shift.”
In other sectors of the prime London niche, the outlook is much brighter.
Dell says proximity to public space remains high on the ‘must have’ list for buyers.
She says: “With the majority of buyers on the lookout for properties with the same criteria, is it becoming the norm to engage in bidding wars, leading to paying over the asking price.
“To combat this issue, an increasing number of properties are being sold off-market. Our role as a buying agent has therefore become key, ensuring prospective buyers can navigate the complicated property market. 2021 saw a record percentage of ‘off-market’ sales for our clients.”
The agency says that notwithstanding the frenzied buying climate in 2021, Black Brick secured an average 3.6 per cent off asking price, a figure which it says it hopes to exceed in 2022.
Dell believes prime central London will see an influx of interest, with buyers gravitating back towards the city, as the race for space loses momentum.
And she says there is one area of London at the forefront of buyers’ minds – Bayswater.
“It is a unique part of London offering inner-city living, with competitive pricing and proximity to green space, reassuring buyers that they can enjoy the outdoors, when some apartments do not have their own outside space.”
And she concludes: “Bayswater is the one to watch. Having previously been considered a less desirable area, compared to its more swanky neighbours, it is becoming increasingly desirable. Buyers are comfortable returning to apartment living, as Hyde Park and Kensington Palace Gardens offer the reassurance of nearby public outside space for those buying a property without a private garden, patio or balcony. Although restrictions have eased, it is likely the pandemic will have a lasting effect on buyers, leading them to permanently consider outside space in their criteria when purchasing in London.”