Capital Gains: London Property Hits A New High
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Capital Gains: London Property Hits A New High

Four developments that prove the British capital’s prime market is roaring post lockdown.

By Kanebridge News
Thu, Sep 9, 2021 10:12amGrey Clock 4 min

THE BROADWAY, WESTMINSTER

Views of Big Ben, Art Deco-revival design, vast, sun-drenched living spaces, boutiques and cafés minutes away from the front door — to say that there’s much that appeals about this six-tower development that epitomises is a tepid understatement.

Set on the former site of the Metropolitan Police headquarters, the development exudes the best in urban living. Executed with aplomb by developer Northacre and the project’s architects Squire and Partners, it comprises 258 luxury apartments (including 16 spectacular penthouse apartments) characterised by oak and marble fittings and floor-to-ceiling, diamond-shaped windows inspired by 1920s jewellery.

The residents-only lifestyle services and amenities are fit to elevated expectations —  state-of-the-art games, screening and meeting rooms; beautifully tended podium gardens above the bustle of Westminster; a dedicated 24-hour concierge service which will service residents’ needs from housekeeping, laundry and flowers, to travel, tickets and recommendations.

A fully-equipped gym, personal training rooms and yoga/stretch rooms, steam room and 25-metre pool also inform the property.

From £1.75m; thebroadwaylondon.com

GARDEN VILLAS AT REGENT’S CRESCENT, MARYLEBONE

The ultimate lock-up-and-leave London bolthole for overseas buyers, as well as an ideal dwelling for professional city-folk, these nine Garden Villas mere moments from Regent’s Park blend Mews-style living with luxury amenities (think 24-hour concierge, underground valet parking and a private 12-seat cinema).

As well as space – 1,864sq ft for two bedroom efforts – owners have more than 9,000 sq ft of private residents’ amenities at their disposal, including a spa, 20-metre swimming pool, treatment room, gym, business suite and Pilates studio.

Inspired by the Regent’s Crescent’s architectural design, interiors are blessed with a combination of warm timbers, dark stone and rich metal accents, all bathed in plenty of light.
“A refreshing characteristic of the Garden Villas is the amount of natural light that flows through each property, with carefully angled roof lights and floor lights shooting daylight right through to the basement area, flooding the spaces with light,” states the mastermind behind the homes’ architectural design, Ian Law, a partner at PDP London. “London has previously been known for its quaint traditional mews houses, but these Garden Villas offer a refined take on a classic way of living in the capital, they satisfy the desire to live in an individual home by retaining proximity to private garden space and your own front door, creating a sense of freedom in a Prime Central London location.”

From £5,150,000; regentscrescent.com

80 HOLLAND PARK, KENSINGTON

Londoners are well-attuned to the joys of visiting the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea’s largest park – not least the orangery, the giant chess set, the war-ravaged ruins, the cricket pitch, the tennis courts, the Kyoto Garden, the Fukushima Memorial Garden, the squirrels and peacocks that call it home… look, we could be here a while such is the bountiful allure of this central space.

And now a lucky few can live on the cusp of Holland Park — in one of four 3,007 sq ft penthouses, the interiors of which are the work of Albion Nord. The design-studio-of-the-moment has blended light, fresh tones with richer earthy greens, burnt oranges and blues to reflect the hues of the park just to the residences’ south. The studio has also hand-picked statement artworks, sculptural items from artisan suppliers mixed with vintage pieces to echo the incredible tree-lined, ‘boulevard’ views of the famed suburb.

Located on the fourth floor, the development’s prime expression, The Penthouse, is filled with natural light and has sweeping views of West London. The property features three spacious bedrooms, two terraces and views onto the stunning neighbourhood and park. Bathed in light thanks to floor-to-ceiling glazing, the Penthouse offers high ceilings and underfloor heating throughout, and is fitted with rich joinery, Bulthaup kitchens and marble bathrooms.

All residents of 80 Holland Park – the latest residential scheme by visionary developer Christian Candy – have access to the development’s private communal garden, providing easy access to Holland Park, as well as a full-service offering that includes  24-hour concierge, secure parking, private cinema room with 98-inch screen, lounge and business suite with fibre-optic broadband for residents working from home.

There is also a boot and dog-wash room, a 17-metre pool and steam room, and a performance-driven gym fitted with state-of-the-art training equipment and best-in-class technology curated by Olympic triathlete Tim Weeks.

From £15,350,000; knightfrank.co.uk

NO. 1 PALACE STREET, ST JAMES’

Having The Queen as a neighbour is just one boastful aspect of this luxury development — one that stares down Central Park Tower, the Avenue Des Champs-Élysées and Dubai’s Burj Khalifa when it comes to ‘Most Prestigious Global Address’ status.

It’s again Northacre – the luxury developer behind acclaimed London projects such as The Lancasters, The Phillimores, Kings Chelsea and The Bromptons, as well as The Broadway –  steering things at No.1, which, as the road name suggests, offers unique views across Buckingham Palace Gardens.

“The development is unique in the sense that it incorporates five architectural styles – Italian Renaissance, Beaux-Arts, French Renaissance, Queen Anne, and 21st-century Contemporary within an island site — which is very rare in developments across London,” explains Northacre CEO Niccolò Barattieri di San Pietro.

Indeed, the project’s interiors team scoured the planet in search of exceptional accoutrements and precious materials to reflect this eclectic quintet of styles —

Italian marble and brushed copper among the results of such curation efforts.

Residents who take up one of 72 dwellings found behind the five distinct facades – which range from one-five bedrooms, and from 679sq ft-5,343sq ft, and have ceiling heights ranging from 2.65m to 5m in the principal rooms – will find elegant fitted oak parquet flooring across living spaces and all bedrooms, with kitchens by Obumex inclusive of Calacatta Oro marble tops and splash backs alongside fully integrated appliances by Gaggenau and Miele.

Eco-friendly touches include LED lighting and adjustable controls, independent MEP control and a state-of-the-art rooftop rainwater harvesting system.

From £2.35m; numberonepalacestreet.com



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Stronger demand in some areas is pushing unit rents up faster than houses

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Renters are returning to the apartment market, leading to higher growth in weekly rents for units than houses over the past year, according to REA data. As workers return to their corporate offices, tenants are coming back to the inner city and choosing apartment living for its affordability.

This is a reversal of the pandemic trend which saw many renters leave their inner city units to rent affordable houses on the outskirts. Working from home meant they did not have to commute to the CBD, so they moved into large houses in outer areas where they could enjoy more space and privacy.

REA Group economic analyst Megan Lieu said the return to apartment living among tenants began in late 2021, when most lockdown restrictions were lifted, and accelerated in 2022 after Australia’s international border reopened.

Following the reopening of offices and in-person work, living within close proximity to CBDs has regained importance,” Ms Lieu said.Units not only tend to be located closer to public transport and in inner city areas, but are also cheaper to rent compared to houses in similar areas. For these reasons, it is unsurprising that units, particularly those in inner city areas, are growing in popularity among renters.

But the return to work in the CBD is not the only factor driving demand for apartment rentals. Rapidly rising weekly rents for all types of property, coupled with a cost-of-living crisis created by high inflation, has forced tenants to look for cheaper accommodation. This typically means compromising on space, with many families embracing apartment living again. At the same time, a huge wave of migration led by international students has turbocharged demand for unit rentals in inner city areas, in particular, because this is where many universities are located.

But it’s not simply a demand-side equation. Lockdowns put a pause on building activity, which reduced the supply of new rental homes to the market. People had to wait longer for their new houses to be built, which meant many of them were forced to remain in rental homes longer than expected. On top of that, a chronic shortage of social housing continued to push more people into the private rental market. After the world reopened, disrupted supply chains meant the cost of building increased, the supply of materials was strained, and a shortage of labour delayed projects.

All of this has driven up rents for all types of property, and the strength of demand has allowed landlords to raise rents more than usual to help them recover the increased costs of servicing their mortgages following 13 interest rate rises since May 2022. Many applicants for rentals are also offering more rent than advertised just to secure a home, which is pushing rental values even higher.

Tenants’ reversion to preferring apartments over houses is a nationwide trend that has led to stronger rental growth for units than houses, especially in the capital cities, says Ms Lieu. “Year-on-year, national weekly house rents have increased by 10.5 percent, an increase of $55 per week,” she said.However, unit rents have increased by 17 percent, which equates to an $80 weekly increase.

The variance is greatest in the capital cities where unit rents have risen twice as fast as house rents. Sydney is the most expensive city to rent in today, according to REA data. The house rent median is $720 per week, up 10.8 percent over the past year. The apartment rental median is $650 per week, up 18.2 percent. In Brisbane, the median house rent is $600 per week, up 9.1 percent over the past year, while the median rent for units is $535 per week, up 18.9 percent. In Melbourne, the median house rent is $540 per week, up 13.7 percent, while the apartment median is $500 per week, up 16.3 percent.

In regional markets, Queensland is the most expensive place to rent either a house or an apartment. The house median rent in regional Queensland is $600 per week, up 9.1 percent year-onyear, while the apartment median rent is $525, up 16.7 percent.

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