On the Market - Battersea, Balham & Clapham, Spring 2012
Fri 20 Jul 2012
If you imagined everything had ground to a halt in the property world due to the current shaky financial conditions, youd be surprised. The opposite has certainly been true south of the river, with 2012 proving to be a busy year so far, right across the board.
by Liza-Jane Kelly
Despite articles in the press of how first-time buyers are struggling and will never be able to save up enough to afford a deposit on their first home, we've had a huge increase in 'pioneer' purchasers. Some are finding ways around the challenges by getting assistance from the 'Bank of Mum and Dad', who realise that their money isnt doing a lot stagnating in the bank, whilst others have been saving hard for the past few years and are now in a position to step onto the housing ladder. Indeed, 22% of the nearly 1300 buyers who have registered with one of our offices surrounding the common so far this year are, in fact, first-time buyers.
In Battersea, Balham and Clapham there is a massive family market, although, as you may have heard, a current shortage of stock is making it more difficult for families to find the homes they want. Typically, young couples come here and buy a flat, and then move up to a maisonette when they have their first child. They then want to trade up further when more youngsters come along, not wanting to leave the area that they know and love. It is for all these reasons that prices for houses in the area are particularly strong at the moment, and whether that continues as more stock comes onto the market in the spring, remains to be seen.
There is currently a mis-match of supply and demand with an average of 15 buyers registered for every available property on our books. Another factor contributing to the shortage of homes is that lenders are continuing to make it difficult to get mortgages, which isnt helping people move on. Some are temporarily giving up on getting mortgages to upsize, instead choosing to add extensions, dig out basements or convert the loft so they can accommodate their growing families.
I have a very good feeling about 2012 and think a great deal more confidence will return to the market. Last year it was as if most people pushed the pause button and hesitated to move due, perhaps, to worries about their jobs, whats been happening in Europe and other calamities in the world. But the Olympics and the Queens Diamond Jubilee are already bringing a real feel-good factor to the capital that will help make 2012 the time to be in London.
Values have certainly risen south of the river. With fewer properties on the market and a growing appetite amongst purchasers, prices continue to be pushed upwards, particularly in the house market sector.
by Tom Crabtree
A good example to illustrate this growth is a four-bedroom house measuring 1,600-square feet that sold in Clapham for 850,000 in 2010. Only a year later, a very similar four-bedroom house in the same street, but with a far smaller garden, sold for 915,000. And more recently, weve sold a similar property on the same road for the 995,000 asking price. Just when I think prices surely cant rise any higher, they do.
In the past, Clapham had a reputation for accommodating young singletons and couples just starting out in London. But now theyve grown up, settled down and dont want to move from this great area, which means theres a strong demand for Victorian family houses from buyers who want to stay in such a vibrant part of the capital, with great restaurants, bars, pubs, shops and green spaces, especially the Commons. There's a real fight for such limited stock and were achieving some fantastic results for our clients.
My predictions for the rest of 2012 are that houses will continue to appreciate, with demand at its highest in the second quarter of the year, as we go into the spring and summer. Our database of buyers is the biggest it has ever been, and more keen buyers continue to register with us every week. In Clapham alone, the ratio of buyers to property is currently at 15 to 1.
Lending is still somewhat problematic for flats, as buyers need a 20-30% deposit to get the best interest rates from banks. As such, this sector isn't quite as bullish as houses, which are now 10-15% beyond the values seen at the peak of 2007. But I believe we'll see even more 'baby-boomers' helping out their children to buy property in 2012 - it's an investment that's still working for them.
Contact Clapham Sales Department on:
T 020 7501 3666
With good transport links into the City, low council tax, leafy green spaces, and the affordability factor, Balham, Battersea and Clapham continue to be a hugely popular rentals market.
by Patrick Littlemore
The trend of an overspill of tenants wanting a better deal or looking for more space by crossing the river from Fulham and Chelsea is continuing into 2012. Traditional 'Chelsea-ites' tell their children that the "first place we lived was on Kings Road, so you should go there too." But times have changed and the prices are now so extraordinary, graduates starting out opt for more affordable areas sharing with friends instead - in Battersea, Balham and Clapham.
Clapham Old Town fared well last year with a market that's very similar to Islington's - good transport into the City, but far enough away from the Square Mile on weekends to be able to enjoy the green spaces. Battersea Park has to be one of the best in the capital, and I think is hugely under-rated. The affordability factor is encouraging too, because even though there's been a climb in values in the sharers' two- and three-bedroom flat market (as demand outstrips supply), it's still a good deal cheaper when compared to many places to the immediate north.
A key attraction for tenants, particularly those watching their pennies, is that Wandsworth has the lowest council tax in the capital. The money saved on your tax might even help subsidise living in one of the most popular spots, the leafy and safe areas between the Commons. These patches are so popular many tenants are staying put, paying out 5-10% increases year-on-year, because theres nothing else available right now. Quality state and private schools are another reason people gravitate here, and landlords demand a premium on rents within state school catchment areas.
City workers feeling slightly nervous about current economic developments have also been more reticent about committing themselves to property at the top end of the market. Signing a tenancy for 1,500 a week or more is regarded as a big commitment in these uncertain times and many tenants want flexibility with a six-month break clause, which doesn't please all landlords.
We're finding the mentality of tenants changing in the capital. Longer-term renters are starting to adopt the same attitude as the European sector of the market. Our continental cousins were brought up in rental property and would never consider purchasing a home, a viewpoint some have brought over to London. As it's not cheap to buy a home here - to get a deposit together is still many years off for most people - and no one knows what will be happening in the world in the near future, why not carry
I foresee the family market remaining strong, as there are more corporate tenants hunting than there is property to fill the gaps. And I believe while there's a lull over the summer, with everyone wrapped up in the Olympics and Royal celebrations, it is probably a good time to look for property. With the bulk of renters typically moving in between September and November, starting your hunt early in July or August while there's less competition could well pay off.
Contact Clapham Lettings Department on:
T 020 7501 3666