Tag Archives: New Homes UK

Property trends 2016

Last year’s housing market was shaped by optimism – house prices rose by 5.6 per cent nationally (10.6 in London), and above the 2007 peak for the first time, to reach new record levels (£186,350 nationally, and £503,431 in London), encouraging developers to build more homes and councils to approve record levels of new developments.


Helios Top View

But it was also one of despair for many, as record numbers of potential buyers and middle-class families gave up on their dream of owning a home. New research from the Bank of England revealed that half of families who don’t own a home never think that they will – that’s some 4.5million households. The rate of home ownership has fallen from 73 per cent in 2007 to 65 per cent today.

And next year? Recognising the crisis, the government used its Autumn Statement to announce a raft of new measures to try and increase the amount of new homes being built, and to help first-time buyers even more. But the pressure on supply is still likely to keep pushing up prices – at least until interest rates start to rise and push up mortgage costs, which is predicted to happen by the end of the year. So if you have a home, sort out your five-year fixed-rate deal now, and if you’re thinking of buying, get in before those rates rise.

New hot spots to watch out for

Agents are tipping Victoria as a new ‘prime’ location thanks to its proximity to landmarks like Buckingham Palace.

Likewise, The Lancasters in Bayswater redefined W2, doubling values achieved north of Hyde Park for the first time in 2015.

“At the moment, a similar sort of thing is happening in Marylebone with The Chilterns development – upcoming luxury schemes in Nine Elms and Liverpool Street look set to have the same effect in other parts of the capital,” says Charlie Willis, Head of London Residential at Strutt & Parker

Other areas of growth will be in Fitzrovia and Kings Cross ,which are rapidly changing out of all recognition, tips Andrew Ellinas, Director at Sandfords.

“In terms of potential hotspots for 2016, we predict that outer London areas will continue to rise more rapidly than prime markets as buyers continue to look for value and investors for better yields. Areas such as East London, Canary Wharf, Camden, Islington, and new markets like Croydon will all outperform prime. Additionally, overlooked parts of the capital, such as Tooting and Streatham in south London, are expected to become more popular,” suggests Camilla Dell, Managing Partner at property buying agency, Black Brick.

Last year Walthan Forest and Lewisham were London’s best performing boroughs for rising prices, because they were comparatively so affordable to start with – we expect first-time buyers to continue to look further out in zones three and four for better value, as well as areas on the edge of zone one that offer better value, such as Elephant and Castle, Vauxhall, and Pimlico.

The Crossrail effect will also start to kick in – places you’ve never heard of, like Shenfield and Abbey Wood, will suddenly be worth considering once the high-speed rail connection becomes a reality.


Developments to watch for 2016


The Stage – A new Shakespeare museum, his original theatre dug our from the mud, and new homes and the first designer shops in Shoreditch, this development will mark Shoreditch’s coming of age.

 Dusk View

Television Centre – Stanhope’s development of the iconic BBC Television Centre in White City will launch in April 2016, reviving a huge area of west London.


Chelsea Barracks – the first phase of this long-awaited £3billion super-prime development on Chelsea Bridge Road launches this year, with apartments and a café designed by Squire and Partners.


Old Oak Park – if you’ve ever been to Car Giant in London, you’ll know it’s vast. Now try to picture it without all of the cars… The canalside site will be transformed into hundreds of new homes, restaurants, shops and even a new tube station, with Crossrail nearby.


Chelsea Waterfont – this vast new development centred around a Victorian power station will link up the hinterland between the Kings Road and Chelsea Wharf and includes residential, retail, restaurants and new parks.


Greenwich Peninsula – There’s been plenty of hype about Nine Elms, but not much chatter about Greenwich Peninsula, which will offer almost as many homes (15,000), waterfront bars, restaurants and shops, and a mini Southbank for south-east London, all just one tube stop from Canary Wharf.

Chelsea Waterfront CGI


Mortgage rates – the Fed has put up the interest rate in the US for the first time since the crisis, will the Bank of England follow suit? We think so.

House prices – in 2015 average house prices in London broke through the £500,000 barrier for the first time. We can’t see demand fading, although prices are reaching unsustainable levels, which will reduce the amount of potential buyers, causing the rate of growth to slow – especially if interest rates rise.

The study – thanks to the internet more of us are working from home, so a dedicated work space is now a must, developers are only just waking up to the fact that everyone has a computer, printer and scanner, and we need a space for them.

First-time buyers – The government has introduced even more new measures to try and help new buyers into the ladder – a 20 per cent discount for first-timers buying below £450,000 in London; doubling the value of Help to Buy to a 40 per cent equity loan in the capital; increasing shared ownership, and a new Help to Buy ISA, plus and increase in the amount of 95 per cent mortgages will all help to get more new buyers into their own homes this year. 

Garden and outdoor rooms – Any outdoor space is a precious commodity and more of us are turning our gardens into “outdoor rooms” with elaborate kitchens and furniture, and installing posh sheds and studios to extend our homes outwards without the cost of moving or building an extension.

Rented, reinvented – The PRS – or private rental sector – is one of the fastest growing new-build areas as developers realize that young people who cannot buy will pay for quality, new-build, long-term rental properties. The developer not only gets the capital gain of the property, but a steady rental income, while tenants can expect a higher standard and quality of contract, including integrated broadband and Sky TV, longer tenancies, and concierges to manage buildings, maintenance and collect those ASOS packages while you’re out.

Broken plan – think nooks for teenagers to sit with their iPads in, while the rest of the family watch TV, and break-out spaces for toys or work.

Swimming pools – going up in every sense! Swimming at altitude looks set to become a new London trend with rooftop pools, panoramic 24th floor pools, and even a suspended swimming pool bridge all being built into new schemes.



The dining room – admit it, in real life you eat your supper on your lap watching Masterchef.

Open plan – so you really want to eat curry in the same room as you dry your washing or to try and focus on work at the table while your other half watches the footy?

Buy to let – new rules on stamp duty and tax relief from George Osborne have been designed to make it less appealing, which could be good news for first-time buyers, who are often beaten to affordable homes buy investors.

Grey – There’s a certain developer look to new build homes – gloss kitchens, grey walls, white bathrooms and metro tiles – that’s getting a bit tired. Buyer are bored of bland and searching for something more personal and localised, expect a rise of British interiors, craftsmanship, and homes and interiors inspired by their surroundings and the history of the site or area.

Technology – super whizzy, remote-controlled properties that are all bling and completely confusing are seeing a backlash from buyers, who’d rather install their own tech systems or enjoy a more simplified home. Too many switches and controls add up to high maintenance and ‘messy’ walls cluttered with control panels.

Luxury buyers – almost all agents agree that the top of the housing market could falter in 2016 as new changes to stamp duty will make people think twice about buying in the £2-5million bracket.

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Manhattan meets East London

A raft of new sky-piercing towers is springing up at Canary Wharf – allowing new residents to live the high life, in more ways than one

South Quay Plaza
South Quay Plaza

Berkeley Homes has built a reputation on being a bit special, as their managing director Harry Lewis says “we don’t do any ‘standard’ products, each development is bespoke and hand-picked. We pick our projects very carefully – it keeps us honest and it makes what we do different and full of character. We don’t have a cookie-cutter approach.”

And there is certainly nothing cookie-cutter about their latest project. It is extraordinary: a gleaming, slimline glass tower designed by Foster + Partners sitting at the crossroads of two docks, right opposite South Quay DLR and on a direct path (once they’ve built a bridge across the dock) to the Jubilee line and Crossrail station.

It wouldn’t look out of place in downtown Manhattan or Hong Kong and in an instant it has made the rest of Canary Wharf look dated and clunky – which is no mean feat.

South Quay Plaza will be surrounded by "pocket" parks
South Quay Plaza will be surrounded by “pocket” parks

It is brave and bold and startlingly tall, soaring to 68 storeys, making it the UK’s tallest residential scheme (ahead of the Shard, whose penthouse sits on the 64th and 65th floors). Around the base of the two diamond-shaped towers, angled to make the most of the sunlight and dual-aspect position on the dock, there will be 10,000 square feet of retail and dining space as well as a public park and gardens for the apartments – in fact 1.6 acres of the three-acre site will be given over to the gardens and space around the buildings. “It will be really something unique for this neighbourhood where most sites occupy more than 90 per cent of the site that they are on, it will give something back to the area by offering space and public gardens, which will bring life into the area, too, so there will be a really buzzy atmosphere,” explains architect and master-planner Grant Brooker a senior partner at Foster + Partners. “Tall buildings are the right answer for this area, but you have to generate life around them and set the buildings in a ‘place’ – high rise is all about getting the design right and about what you give back, there has to be a trade-off.”

South Quay Plaza's retail and social space
South Quay Plaza’s retail and social space

And the glass towers certainly have the “wow” factor – they will be little wider than two average-sized houses once built, but the sheets of glass, with lots of angles cut in to bring even more light through the building, feel airy and transparent so that despite the height, it is incredibly elegant and unobtrusive. “I knew I wanted something really spectacular,” explains Lewis, “so we sent out the tender to six of the very best architecture firms, but the Foster + Partners’ plan was so brilliant, they had us at ‘hello’.”

It seems the Tower Hamlets planners were equally enamoured as the plans went through without any significant changes at all, bar a reduction in height by five storeys (“they were worried that planes might not see it,” says Brooker), which is virtually unheard of.

There will 888 homes at South Quay Plaza, from suites to three-beds and penthouses, but Lewis doesn’t look worried about selling them, the workforce in Canary Wharf is predicted to double by 2025 and average earnings here are the highest in the country, while property prices are expected to grow by 37 per cent over the next four years, compare to a London average of 29.4 per cent.

“This is the start of a new era for Canary Wharf,” Brooker tells me. “First came the office phase, and more recently is has been all about embracing retail and the emergence of entertainment and dining spaces. Now it is time for the residential story to develop – it’s the natural next step.”

A new bridge between the Jubilee Line at Canary Wharf and Marsh Wall will drive footfall through the space, creating a vibrant destination
A new bridge between the Jubilee Line at Canary Wharf and Marsh Wall will drive footfall through the space, creating a vibrant destination

The floor-to-ceiling windows, interiors also designed by Foster + Partners, and the inclusion of residents’ facilities such as a vast wellness centre with a pool and gym, and a club occupying the entire 56th floor with an outdoor terrace that will feature two bars, a lounge, screening room, dining rooms and meeting rooms, even a homework room for children and a crèche, all make this a building to live in, not just a trophy home.

And where Berkeley lead, the well-heeled, and other developers, follow. They are the Waitrose of the building world. So you can expect a small forest of shiny new residential towers to spring up in South Quay Plaza’s wake – in fact by 2020 there will be more than 5,000 residential homes here, that’s a whole new town. Get ready Canary Wharf, things are about to get a whole lot more lively.

South Quay Plaza launches on 14 July with suites starting from £490,000, www.southquayplaza.london


Towering in the East –  new developments reaching for the skies in Docklands

10 Park Drive
10 Park Drive
10 Park Drive
10 Park Drive

10 Park Drive

The current site of Wood Wharf will become a new mixed-use district of offices, retail, parks, a hotel, school and more than 3,000 apartments, filling a currently languishing site on the east side of the Canary Wharf Estate – incredibly these residential homes are the first ever to be built on the Canary Wharf estate in its 30-year history.

Numerous big name architects will be involved from Herzog & de Meuron to Grid, Make and Stanton Williams, who are responsible for 10 Park Drive, the first tower of some 30 buildings that will be constructed here. There are 345 studio, one and two-bed apartments with a residents’ roof terrace in the 13-storey tower that will adjoin another, 42-storey tower. Residents will also have membership to a health and fitness club. The apartments launch on 9 July with prices from £395,000, www.canarywharf.com/residential.

Harbour Central
Harbour Central

Harbour Central

Comprising five residential buildings, a leisure complex and park, Galliard Homes’ Harbour Central sits moments from South Quay DLR. Its flagship Art-Deco-style tower, Maine Tower, will be 42 storeys high and has been conceived as a “vertical village” with social spaces on various levels, from a library and cinema to a gym, spa and residents’ club. The interiors have been designed by Nicola Fontanella of Argent Design, bringing Miami glamour to Docklands.

The 297 studios, one, two and three bedroom apartments at Maine Tower, launched at the weekend, with prices from £350,000, www.harbourcentral.com

Dollar Bay
Dollar Bay
Dollar Bay
Dollar Bay

Dollar Bay

A little further down South Dock from South Quay Plaza, and sitting opposite the Wood Wharf site, developer Mount Anvil is constructing Dollar Bay, 111 apartments from studios to three bedrooms, with a winter garden for every apartment, a residents’-only garden, gym and lounge. The glossy, glass tower has been created by Ian Simpson Architects and will have unrivalled views over the river to Greenwich. Register an interest ahead of their launch at www.mountanvil.com


Newfoundland Tower
Newfoundland Tower

Newfoundland Tower

On the western side of the Canary Wharf Estate, dubbed the diamond building because of its diamond-like supporting frame (rather like the Gherkin), Newfoundland Tower will be 58 storeys tall, housing 566 apartments, when it completes in 2017. www.canarywharf.com/residential

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Is this the future of housing?

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When Toyota launched its eco-friendly Prius car, Hollywood A-listers including Cameron Diaz and Leonardo DiCaprio clamoured to be seen driving the green machine.

Now developer FABRICA is hoping to set a similar pioneering trend in the homes market as they launch Elmsbrook this month, the first true large-scale zero-carbon residential development in the UK, on the outskirts of Bicester in Oxfordshire.

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Architects Farrells has a reputation for blazing a sustainability trail and their work on Elmsbrook has won it a global award for eco efficiency and sustainable living.

“With Elmsbrook, we are anticipating the future of house building. The technology that we are implementing might appear cutting edge today, but eventually this will become the norm and we anticipate that everyone will be living eco consciously,” explains Sir Terry Farrell, partner at Farrells.

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So while it may please you to learn that the 393 homes will be built with zero waste to landfill, developed with 30 per cent less carbon than a typical building and with sustainable materials, or that rainwater harvesting will reduce your water use, while solar roof panels and triple-glazing will make them super-energy efficient, the burning question is still: will you want to live there?

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What will probably sell the homes to most people – aside from the smaller bills and smug conscience – will be the idyllic countryside, on the edge of the Cotswolds, where Soho House is about to open a new outpost this month, and the Cornbury music festival will be on your doorstep.

The homes themselves will be sleek, modern and feature hotel style bathrooms, Siemens kitchens, ridiculously fast broadband (100mb per second), and an energy-tracking tablet in each home, that will tell you everything from how much energy you are using to when the next bus is due. Your garage will come with a green meadow roof.

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It doesn’t end with the houses – a new primary school, nursery, community hall, shops, cafes, business centre and even an eco-pub are all part of the plans.

As Rosie Nesbitt, group director sales and marketing at FABRICA comments: “While the eco-credentials inherent to Elmsbrook will appeal to eco-conscious purchasers – indeed, the electric car charging points will power a Prius – the houses have been designed to offer hassle-free, environmentally friendly homes for those who are simply looking for an attractive setting in which to purchase their first property, bring up a family or enjoy their retirement.”

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Perhaps the best part of the plan is what the developer isn’t doing: 40 per cent of the land will be left as green space – think communal orchard, allotments, and children’s play areas – with “wildlife” corridors running through the development.

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A neighbourhood with herb boxes on every street and an electric car club? We could certainly live with that.

Prices from £295,000, www.Elmsbrook.co.uk