It’s the last few week’s before Christmas, and the property market in East London is still showing no signs of putting its feet up for the holidays. New developments and a flurry of last-minute activity before the end of the year means that November and December can be surprisingly busy months. Canary Wharf and the E14 Isle of Dogs areas are particularly busy, and as we mentioned last month, the market shows no signs of contracting.

Figures for Prime London stock in particular have been good, with the Land Registry reporting Canary Wharf showing a very impressive 7% increase in sales during Q1 and Q2 of 2015. It seems that investors’ love affair with the East End is as buoyant as ever.

And according to data from the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA), first-time buyers are starting to increase in number too. Across the UK they accounted for 29% of all sales, compared to 20% in August. The easier availability of mortgages as banks release their grip on the purse strings means that even in the more expensive locations such as E14, new investors are showing a real interest, particularly in smaller studio apartments and one or two-bedroom properties.

 

Top end properties

However, as is to be expected it’s the top end of the property market that appears to be strongest, particularly the £1million band. These are properties that have not been as severely impacted by the changes in stamp duty charges (when compared to £2million+ properties), and are continuing to attract the attentions of overseas investors in particular.

A prime (if you’ll pardon the pun) example of this kind of premium quality property is the new-build development on the Isle of Dogs, currently being handled by property experts Vanet. “While lower-end properties of sub-one million are highly sought after, it’s the million-plus properties that are commanding the most interest among portfolio investors,” comments Joel Brookes from Vanet. “Last month we predicted a surge in interest in prime property in East London. This month, we’re seeing that prediction become a reality. We currently have a couple of projects on our books that are drawing a great deal of attention from clients looking for premium quality properties. While our Tiller Road properties top the one million price, in Amsterdam Road we are handling the sale of properties for around £500,000, which in today’s premium property market represents an astonishingly good investment opportunity. These are new-build developments that are a prime example of how the East End is still right at the top of the most desirable areas of the city for young professionals in particular,” he adds.

 

It’s all about the detailing

The ‘wish list’ that prospective buyers have when looking for a property is as demanding as ever. Not only is the location a potential deal breaker, but so are other essential extras like parking, accessibility to public transport and even the view. “New-build options such as Tiller Road and Amsterdam Road are fulfilling peoples’ wish lists because unlike in previous years where developers simply bought a plot based on the lowest possible unit price and the highest possible return, now they’re putting a lot more thought and planning into their developments,” explains Joel. “They know that Prime customers in particular are, quite rightly, very demanding. So they have to ensure that if they’re charging over a million for a property, that it’s genuinely worth a million. And that means giving the customer much more than just bricks and mortar.”

 

Rental property in East London

The rental market remains as strong as ever, and as we mentioned last month, the willingness of banks to lend for buy-to-let investment means that this sector of the market is remaining firm. The position of so many major international operations in Canary Wharf makes the East End particularly popular for overseas investors who want to let out premium properties on short-term leases to corporate tenants.

This in turn has marked a shift in the type of service landlords expect from letting and management agencies. Not only are landlords now looking for property firms who can supply them with the right category of real estate and can match the right property to the right tenant, but they want firms who can also manage those properties on their behalf too. “Our industry is going through a fundamental ground-shift when it comes to lettings,” explains Joel Brookes. We now have to ensure that not only are lettings filled quickly, but that we also provide a full management service for the landlord and tenant from the outset and throughout the lifetime of the lease. Corporate clients in particular expect an enhanced level of service, and the industry is going to have to ensure that they deliver exactly that, if they want to ensure a prosperous future,” he concludes.

 
All figures and quotes are accurate at the time of publishing  

Sales: Vanet Property Asset Management is a trading name of Countrywide Estate Agents,
Registered in England Number 00789476. Registered Office: Greenwood House, 1st Floor, 91-99 New London Road, Chelmsford, Essex, CM2 0PP

Lettings: Vanet Property Asset Management is a trading name of Countrywide Residential Lettings Limited, Registered Office: Greenwood House, 1st Floor, 91-99 New London Road, Chelmsford, Essex, CM2 0PP.
Registered in England Number 02995024 which is an agent and subsidiary of Countrywide Estate Agents, Registered Office: Greenwood House, 1st Floor, 91-99 New London Road, Chelmsford, Essex, CM2 0PP.

Registered in England Number 00789476. Countrywide Residential Lettings Limited is regulated by RICS. Countrywide Estate Agents is an appointed representative of Countrywide Principal Services Limited which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.