The first half of 2015 was relatively soft, perhaps due in no small measure to the effects of the General Election and, more profoundly, the changes in the Stamp Duty rates that had a trickle-down effect across the board.

However, as we reported in November last year, things did start to look up in the second half of the year, and by September the market had risen by around 2.3%. Although a relatively subdued upturn, after a prolonged period of little movement, any increase was welcome.

What is the outlook for next year? As we ring out the old and bring in the new, we anticipate a more stable economy and continued investment in infrastructure across the capital which makes London a desirable location amongst foreign investors.

“In 2016 we expect to see a continuing trend of investors in London prime property,” comments Joel Brookes of property experts Vanet. “We predict that the number of investors looking for prime property up to the £1.5 million bracket to grow. These are the prime properties that have been least affected by the changes in stamp duty, so lower end prime property and in particular one and two-bedroomed apartments look set to be the must-have addition for prime property portfolios in 2016,” he adds.

 
Hot Spots 

Over the past couple of months we have discussed in detail how a wave of new prime locations are emerging throughout the capital. “We feel that this trend will continue through 2016, with the East End showing particularly strong growth as a prime location,” comments Joel Brookes. Canary Wharf continues to prove to be a favourite with prime property investors (both buyers and landlords), while the influx of overseas investors is being driven by an increasing number of international companies that are choosing to make the area their base of operations.

However, other parts of the capital are starting to shine as prime investment locations too, and in 2016 we predict that Greenwich, Woolwich and Vauxhall will prove to be the big draws on the south side of the river, while on the north shore it’s Canning Town that could be the surprise ‘up and coming’ location. Further to the west, areas such as Fulham and Ealing are doing well, while north London could also demonstrate considerable potential growth, particularly around Kentish Town, St John’s Wood and Camden. 

 
Buy-to-let 

Buy-to-let has been one of the strongest performers in the London prime property market in 2015, and looks set to continue as a primary choice for smart investors. New developments around the Canary Wharf and E14 area are drawing the most attention, although other prime rental areas are opening up to the west of the capital. “The development of better infrastructure and transport systems in London, such as Crossrail, have made new areas of the city more accessible for those who work in the city, but want to go home to a relatively peaceful and quiet ‘suburb’ location further out,” comments Joel Brookes from Vanet.

“This means that the prime property map is being redrawn, with the boundaries spreading beyond the previous Mayfair and Chelsea limits in the west, and the Square Mile in the East. Now, thanks to better transport links, discerning tenants are happy to look a little further afield for a rental, and also expect to get more for their money in up-and-coming prime areas that are perhaps a little further outside the inner commute area,” he adds. 

 
Buyers and landlords are expecting more 

One aspect that prime London property management companies will have to adapt to in 2016 is the continuing rise in expectations, particularly from landlords. No longer satisfied with a simple ‘introduction’ service between landlords and potential tenants, they will now be expecting management companies to look after all aspects of property management – from finding the best deals in prime Property across the capital (both on and off-plan), through to ongoing maintenance and service management for tenants and absentee landlords.

“Property Management agencies need to deliver the best possible service to their clients, on both sides of the deal,” comments Joel Brookes. “Landlords, especially those who are overseas for most of the time, will expect to be able to leave the day-to-day running of their properties in their agent’s hands. And tenants, especially corporate clients, will expect to receive a tailor-made service from the day they move in to the day they leave. To ensure 2016 is a successful year in the prime London property market, all property management agents are going to have to step up and deliver a first-class, end-to-end service to every single client,” 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.