One of the country’s leading buying agents has set out what’s hot and what’s not in London’s housing market as it recovers from Covid.
Sara Ransom, managing director of Stacks Property Search in the capital, says it’s all about the suburbs right now.
“The word ‘suburban’ used to be a bit Margo Leadbetter from The Good Life, but London’s suburbs are now red hot. Londoners who have spent the last two years in prime residential areas such as Fulham, Maida Vale and Islington are seeking space to stretch their legs, but they’re not quite ready to cross the M25” claims Ransom, a former estate agent who first entered professional buying working with Phil Spencer.
“They’re looking to swap vertical space for lateral space; small patio gardens for large outside space with room for all the al fresco bells and whistles that have become de rigeur.
“This is the market where the most competitive bidding is currently residing. A family house in Putney recently had eight committed bidders; it went to best and final offers and achieved 10 per cent over asking. Buyers looking for three or four bedroom houses in areas such as Putney, Dulwich, Wimbledon and Greenwich should sharpen their elbows.”
There are also new hotspots - Dulwich and West Norwood in the south east replacing Balham and Streatham; Wimbledon and Cobham replacing Fulham and Putney; Crouch End and Stoke Newington replacing Highbury and Islington; and Walthamstow replacing increasingly-expensive Stoke Newington, Dalston and Hackney.
She also says the capital’s undergoing a redefinition as demographics change.
“There was a time when everybody wanted to be within a 10 minute walk of the tube. But Generation Z has different priorities. A good walk or cycle to start and end the day is seen as a benefit. The premium for properties close to the Tube has become very diluted; much more important is a bit more internal space which has become a huge advantage in the days of working from home, or a tiny patch of outside space – enough to sit and enjoy the fresh air and balance a glass of wine or cup of coffee.”
And lifestyle changes have also impacted on house design as well as fittings and fixtures demanded by prospective buyers in London.
Ransom continues: “It’s hard to spot the difference between inside and out. As much, if not more, attention is being paid to exteriors than interiors. Fittings, furnishings, lighting, cooking, dining, relaxing paraphernalia are top of everybody’s Christmas present lists. Barbecues are a bit last decade; Cadais or fire pits are a minimum requirement and pizza ovens are no longer niche.”