London’s knack of reinventing itself appears limitless as new urban villages are fast springing up in iconic locations both north and south of the river, reshaping the capital, and the property market, for the 21st century. But where should you invest?
‘Regeneration developments and infrastructure improvements pull wealth into an area, increasing its diversity and desirability, which in turn attracts more high-net-worth buyers,’ says Sophie Chick of Savills Residential Research. Newly fashionable areas are often pioneered by the ‘creative classes’, she adds, and if you’re brave, these new areas could give you a great return on your investment.
King’s Cross is one of the most exciting new neighbourhoods in London. An evolving 67-acre quarter of 2,000 cool new homes, streets, shops, restaurants, parks, public squares and a natural lido, it also has great transport connections to the UK and Europe. Google plans to open its UK HQ there, further underpinning the status of the area.
‘King’s Cross is a perfect example of where the public realm has been particularly successful and ensured that the development has come alive, which appeals to people both living and working in the local area,’ says Priya Pannu, Partner Residential Development, Knight Frank. ‘Prices there have surpassed our forecast for Central London this year and the high-quality nature of the developments means we see the potential for further growth.’
New residents can choose between iconic homes built within the Grade II listed frames of Victorian gasholders through to chic apartments within the Plimsoll building, where one bedroom homes start from just over £1m. Pure luxury exists in the exquisitely restored St Pancras Chambers where a triplex, three bedroom penthouse apartment with private parking and served by the amenities of the five star Marriott Renaissance Hotel next door, is for sale with Knight Frank for £6.55m.
Probably most famous for its exhibition and concert venue, Earl’s Court is set to be transformed into four new residential villages across 77 acres comprising crescents, garden squares, a five-acre park and a new pedestrian-friendly high street filled with independent shops and restaurants. Stylish family homes, mansion-style blocks and cutting-edge apartments will make up the 7,500 new homes planned on the multi-billion pound development. Lillie Square East is a range of one, two and three bedroom properties developed by apco and KFI on the main garden square.
Available now, prices start from £799,000 and homes will have access to an impressive clubhouse with spa, pool, cinema and private dining. Tim Buckley, Head of Savills Earl’s Court, says: ‘The area encapsulates all that you would want from London living, giving a balance of the more traditional period conversions, as well as modern developments such as Lillie Square. The regeneration is bringing big changes in transport, green space, schools and café culture to the already bustling Earl’s Court Road.’
Battersea & Nine Elms
Having attracted billions of pounds of investment, a huge-scale riverside regeneration programme has begun to transform the former industrial district south of The Thames from Vauxhall to Battersea. Over the next decade and beyond, Nine Elms will see thousands of new homes built and jobs created. Riverlight, Battersea Power Station, Embassy Gardens and New Covent Garden Market are the four main quarters that will emerge along a new linear park running from Vauxhall west to Battersea.
It will also include extensive river frontage, lined with cafés, bars, restaurants, cultural attractions and public space. Two new Northern Line Tube stations will cut travel times to the City to 12 minutes and a new pedestrian bridge linking the area with Pimlico will be a major draw for residents. Knight Frank predicts property values to increase by 140% between 2011 and 2016.
Matthew Genders, Sales Manager at Chestertons Battersea Park, adds: ‘From an investment opportunity the whole area has a very bright future and continues to grow in popularity among first-time buyers. Aside from the 20,000 new homes planned for Nine Elms, pockets of regeneration and development continue to spring up all over Battersea and will also be enhanced by the arrival of Crossrail 2.’
The South Bank
Over 12 large-scale developments are underway along the Southbank from Tower Bridge to Waterloo, changing the capital’s skyline for ever. While The Shard dominates, several other towers will become icons in their own right. The soaring 41-storey South Bank Tower in London’s cultural mile next to the OXO Tower and The Mondrian Hotel had a star-studded opening late last year and offers an eclectic mix of luxury apartments, retail and office space, and wonderful views too. In terms of cost, two bedroom apartments currently start from £2.625m.
The Berkeley Group’s One Blackfriars, nicknamed the Boomerang, is being built alongside and is described as a beacon of architectural brilliance, rising 50 storeys and adding a shimmering new dimension to the horizon; prices from £1.150m. One Tower Bridge is situated just along the bank on one of the last great riverside locations in London with luxurious apartments set in eight ‘houses’ and one tower designed in four distinct architectural styles. Prices start from £1.275m.
‘The changing face of the South Bank will bring in a mixture of downsizers moving back into London and overseas investors due to the long-term growth potential,’ says James Hyman, Head of Residential Agency Cluttons. ‘Young singles and couples are attracted to the buzzy atmosphere and pied á terre owners like the area’s commutability to the rest of London. Southbank’s Prime Central location offers good value for money and the overall lack of land means properties are in short supply, making the area resilient to economic downturns.’