When it comes to selling your home, it helps hugely if you can get an insight into the mindset of buyers to find out the things they most desire.
For many, location will be a key consideration. And, more than that, the amenities on offer in the local area where they are looking to buy.
New research by a property website has now revealed the amenities that British people are most interested in – with some slightly surprising results.
The rising influence of budget supermarkets
For many years, British buyers have typically looked for homes which fall in the catchment area of a good or outstanding school. Now, though, a study suggests that proximity to discounter supermarkets such as Aldi and Lidl is a more important priority.
Some 39% of those surveyed said they would like to live close by to a budget supermarket, while only 29% prioritised a 'certain school catchment area'.
A budget supermarket nearby is most desirable among younger generations, with 54% of 18-24-year olds placing it top of their wish list. But this desire for a bargain steadily reduces among older generations, with the study revealing that only 34% of over-45s long for a budget supermarket on their doorstep.
The lure of attractive surroundings
Budget supermarkets might be rising in popularity, but they weren't quite the most desirable amenity. That honour was bestowed upon scenic views (44%), with local restaurants/bars (37%), traditional pubs (36%) and independent shops (34%) also making the top five.
Meanwhile, high-end supermarkets such as Waitrose and Marks & Spencer are still popular (32%), while a 'certain school catchment area', access to walking trails, coffee shops and a local library completed the top 10.
It's important to remember that, even though this research suggests that the desirability of a home in a good catchment area is waning, it’s still likely to be a key consideration for many buyers – particularly those with young or nearly school-age children, and those thinking of starting a family soon.
South East London offers something for everyone
Every buyer is different, but there are some things that prove universally popular and timeless. This list includes good access to supermarkets, plenty of green space nearby, strong transport links, a varied selection of eateries and independent shops, excellent schools and local community facilities such as libraries and parks.
Fortunately, the areas we operate in at Living in London – Bermondsey, Surrey Quays, Canada Water and Rotherhithe – offer these must-have amenities in abundance. From stunning scenic views over the Thames to ample green space, South East London certainly scores highly when it comes to the features that buyers are most likely to desire.
What’s more, transport links in this part of town are superb – with Canary Wharf (one stop away) and ‘The City’ both easily accessible from Canada Water on the Jubilee Line. This makes it an ideal base for young professionals who work in one of the world's key financial hubs. As well as Tube connections, commuters also benefit from London Overground services, reliable bus routes and National Rail links from this part of the capital.
Easy access to all ‘London Airports’ is available, especially to City Airport, while the incoming Elizabeth Line includes a stop at Canary Wharf. Once the line is operational, commute times from here to Central London and Heathrow will be slashed, while it will be easier than ever to reach the suburbs in East and West London, Essex and Berkshire. Given Canada Water’s proximity to Canary Wharf, the Elizabeth Line will be another bow to add to our areas’ superb transport links.
If it’s traditional pubs, bars and restaurants you’re after, then South East London also comes up trumps. The best of these are The Brunel, The Mayflower Pub, The Angel and The Ship
Culture vultures are also well catered for, with this part of the capital being home to the Brunel Museum and the London Bubble Theatre, as well as a number of historical landmarks – namely the Swan Road Mosaic Mural and the Moated Manor House of King Edward III.
As for green space, Southwark Park, Stave Hill Ecological Park and Russia Docks Woodland more than cater for the desire for a place to breathe, relax and escape from London’s famous hustle and bustle.
In addition, Canada Water is home to a fantastic library (the impressively designed and simply named Canada Water Library), which is open every day and offers weekly and monthly activities for both adults and children. And, of course, like all parts of London, there is no shortage of coffee shops on offer – from chains like Starbucks to brilliant independents like the Canada Water Cafe.
As we’ve mentioned in previous blogs, Canada Water and Rotherhithe are undergoing significant regeneration – with significant investment being pumped into the former as a result of the Canada Water Masterplan while the proposed foot (and cycle) bridge between Rotherhithe and Canary Wharf continues to generate excitement.
Work with an experienced local agent
To improve your chances of selling your home, it’s crucial that your marketing campaign points out the various local amenities on offer – such as transport links, local schools, supermarkets, pubs, restaurants, green space and coffee shops – as these could all help to convince a buyer to make an offer.
It's also important to partner with a reputable local agent to ensure you set the right asking price for your home. Go too high and you could deter buyers; set it too low and you risk selling yourself and your property short.
To discuss your options in greater detail, you can get in contact with Living in London on: 020 7231 0002.
We also provide free instant online valuations to give you an idea of how much your property is worth in the current market.
As we enter a new year, thoughts often turn to new starts and fresh beginnings. For many, buying or selling a home will be high up on their list of New Year’s resolutions.
But, if you’re planning on selling a home in the year ahead, what do you need to know?
Below, using our experience of operating in the busy, lively south-east London housing market, we take a closer look…
Now is a good time to sell
For a long while now, the post-Christmas boom in property market activity has been something to hang your hat on – reliable and guaranteed. Interest and hesitant buying plans formed over the festive period are now enacted upon, leading to a very busy period for the property market in the first three months of the year.
The property portals typically enjoy record traffic in the time between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, with people using the extra free time at their disposal to browse for properties or tentatively put their home-buying plans into action.
Figures for this Christmas suggest that Rightmove experienced record visitor numbers on Boxing Day, some 25,147,701 pages viewed according to a tweet by the property firm.
What’s more, the Daily Mail claimed that more than two million people trawled through multiple Rightmove listings on Boxing Day, while the paper also said there were 40 million online viewings of homes, compared to 38 million on the same day in 2017.
Put simply, the number of eyes on your property at this time of the year is likely to be much higher, which in turn will improve your chances of selling with relative ease. If you haven’t already listed your home, now is a good time to act to take advantage of the traditional surge in buyer interest at this time of the year.
Brexit certainty could bring market stability
The uncertainty caused by Brexit has undoubtedly had an impact on many parts of life, and property hasn’t been immune from that. A RICS report released just before Christmas suggested that many buyers and sellers were electing to sit tight until the position over Brexit became clearer, while there has been much talk about the dampening effect the political turmoil in Westminster has had on house prices, particularly at the higher end of the London market.
Although the property market has largely batted off political and economic issues in recent years – taking a business as usual approach even in the face of referendums, snap general elections and prolonged withdrawal negotiations – it is still one that thrives more when certainty and stability are the order of the day.
For now, it’s little surprise that some buyers and sellers are holding back, but greater clarity over the final withdrawal agreement would no doubt lead to a more confident, assured sector. The current situation is still highly unclear, with everything from a no deal Brexit to a second referendum still on the table, but hopefully we will know more once the meaningful vote on Theresa May’s Brexit deal has taken place (scheduled for the week starting January 14).
On the upside from a seller’s point of view, the fundamentals of the market remain the same – with demand still hugely outstripping supply – which means that sellers are still in a good position when it comes to negotiating on asking prices, especially in London.
Prices should continue to rise
Despite the B-word hanging over all aspects of life, most property experts are predicting house price rises in 2019 – or at the very least no change.
That should particularly be the case in property hotspots such as Canada Water, a part of South East London which is being hailed as one to watch out for in the year to come thanks to substantial regeneration works in the pipeline.
Long in the shadow of near neighbour Canary Wharf, the former dockside area had been rather neglected until recently. Now, as well as being home to excellent transport links, easy access to the Thames, foodie hubs such as Hawker House and close proximity to London Bridge, Borough and Elephant & Castle, it is also becoming a commuter hotspot.
The Canada Water Masterplan, which we outlined in a previous blog, is driving the area’s increasing popularity, and its status as one of the Mayor of London’s Opportunity Areas is also helping to attract buyer interest.
This, of course, can be used to your advantage if you are selling a home in the local area. Ensure that you make use of the exciting redevelopment it is undergoing when trying to sell your home. The great transport links on offer (not just Jubilee Line, but London Overground services too) should also play a key role in your sales pitch to prospective buyers.
It’s not just Canada Water, either – the other areas we operate in (Bermondsey, Surrey Quays and Rotherhithe) also have plenty going for them and plenty to attract those looking for London living slightly away from the hustle and bustle of the capital’s busiest areas.
How much could your property be worth this year?
Here at Living in London, we provide instant online valuations to give you an idea of what your home is currently worth.
In 2019, like any other year, it’s important that you set your asking price at the right level to avoid putting off would-be buyers or selling yourself short.
It’s also vital that you work closely with a reputable local estate agent to ensure you avoid overvaluing, which could prohibit your chances of securing a sale.
If you would like to discuss your options in greater detail, you can contact Living in London on 020 7231 0002.
But what is the latest state of play for a project that is set to complete its first phase in 2022?
What is the Masterplan?
First things first, a quick recap. The Canada Water Masterplan, set to be fully completed by 2033, will provide new shops, restaurants, bars, leisure facilities and entertainment venues, as well as thousands of new homes and a large quantity of workspace to an area that is already a popular, well-connected commuter hub.
The project – which plans to create a new urban centre for SE16 - is still subject to receiving planning permission from Southwark Council, but British Land (the developer behind the proposals) hopes to secure this soon. The planning application is set to be heard at Southwark Council’s Planning Committee in the coming months.
British Land recently submitted some minor changes to the Masterplan planning application, with Southwark Council undertaking statutory consultation on these revisions between mid-March and early April 2019.
The major advantages of the project, however, remain the same. These include:
- 3,000 new homes in total, with 265 homes across the first two residential buildings that make up the first phase of the development, and 35% of these bracketed as affordable housing.
- New health and education space to improve the social and community infrastructure in the Canada Water area.
- A wide range of significant community benefits, including a new police hub and a replacement leisure centre for Seven Islands.
- Two million square feet of workspace and one million square feet of retail, leisure, entertainment and community space, including a new high street and a new relocated Tesco store.
- 15 acres of open space, including a new town square, park and ecological improvements to the western edge of Canada Water Dock.
New low-cost workspace to open in Canada Water
As well as the ongoing preparation works for the Canada Water Masterplan, a new (temporary) low-cost workspace will open its doors, located on the site of the former Flame Grill restaurant in Surrey Quays Leisure Park.
The disused space will be converted into ‘a multi-functional workspace suitable for a variety of start-ups and small-scale businesses’, known as Thrive.
It will be operated by Tree Shepherd, in partnership with British Land, as part of the wider ‘Start Up and Thrive’ programme which has been aiding local entrepreneurs for the last year and a half.
It’s a further example of a thriving area working for the benefit of all demographics, and goes hand-in-hand with the Canada Water Masterplan’s goal to transform a commuter hub into a place that can act as an employment base in its own right, with a thriving new town centre and a previously rundown area fully regenerated.
An area with considerable potential
There must have been a reason why British Land chose Canada Water for such a substantial regeneration project – its geographic location, existing infrastructure and popularity among buyers and renters makes it ripe for improvement and enhancement.
Transport links are already superb, Surrey Quays shopping centre ensures excellent local amenities are on hand, Hawker House food market is a foodie hotspot, and the Thames is right on the doorstep – but the Canada Water Masterplan will help to elevate the area to a higher plain than ever before.
How much could your Canada Water property be worth?
It’s difficult to give an exact figure or percentage of how much the Masterplan will affect prices of existing properties. Whilst it will raise people’s awareness of Canada Water, as well as the number of amenities, which will attract more people wanting to live and purchase property in the area, there will be an increase in the property supply and therefore the amount of people and traffic, all of which could have a negative impact.
We predict that the desirability increase will outweigh the negatives and therefore prices of existing properties will increase. Of course, other factors such as Brexit and government changes to the private rental sector and taxation will play a part, but we are of the belief that the sales market and prices in the area will perform strongly over the coming years. We are already seeing the ‘green shoots’ of this with demand increasing from end users as well as investors becoming active again.
How much is your property currently worth?
Here at Living in London, we provide instant online valuations to give you an idea of what your home is currently worth (for rental or sales). Although these valuations aren’t always as accurate as we would like, they give you an idea. Should you wish for a more accurate face to face property specific valuation, we suggest you contact us to arrange a free no obligation appraisal/valuation.
If you are planning or thinking of bringing your property to the sales market, or if it is currently on the market, we stress the importance of ensuring you set your asking price at the right level to avoid putting off prospective buyers or having to ‘chase the market’ with price drops. Equally, you don’t want to sell yourself short by undervaluing.
It’s also vital that you work closely with a reputable local estate agent who has specific area knowledge and a track record of selling properties similar to yours, so to give you the best chance of selling your property at the right price and in the right timescale for you.
To discuss your options in greater detail, and to learn more about the big redevelopment plans for Surrey Quays and Canada Water, you can contact Living in London on 020 7231 0002
If you’re considering listing your house on the market with a low-cost, upfront fee online estate agent, you may want to think again.
As an independent agency operating in South East London, we know there are a number of advantages to using a traditional high street firm over an online or upfront fee one.
Now, though, this has been backed up further by research from The Advisory – which offers free, independent and expert advice to house sellers.
Its findings revealed that high street estate agents achieve an average price of 5% more than online-only agents in around 75% of sales. They also achieve more viewings and offers than their online counterparts.
Why is this?
Online agents are heavily reliant on portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla to find buyers. While portals are an excellent way of generating interest in properties, they are less good at actually getting results.
The research found that, while Rightmove generates approximately 52% of viewings, it produces only 36% of offers and 27% of the best buyers.
By contrast, high street agents generate 48% of viewings, 64% of offers and – in nearly three-quarters of cases – a 5% higher sale price.
That would translate to a loss of £12,500 on a sale of a £250,000 home, according to The Advisory, if an online-only agency was used rather than a traditional one.
Of course, any good traditional agent will also advertise heavily on the major portals, which means sellers won’t lose out in this sense by opting for a high street firm.
Local knowledge and experience
As the research above states, opting to use an online-only agent could lead to fewer viewings and lower than expected offers. By using a local estate agent with branches in areas of high footfall you can increase your chances of getting viewings, attracting serious buyers and receiving offers that properly reflect the true value of your property.
Here at Living in London, we operate two branches - one is inside Canada Water Tube station and one is located at Marine Wharf, a lively new dockside development in Surrey Quays. This not only means we can build good relationships with local buyers, it also means we are fully aware of local trends which could help to get your home sold more quickly.
As we pointed out in previous blog, there are a number of things buyers of property in South East London will be looking out for, and the areas we cover offer these in abundance. Good transport links, a lively social scene, garden space, parking and fast broadband speeds are all likely to feature as must-haves, with good local schools, amenities and green space also likely to be key considerations.
You should employ a multi-pronged marketing strategy – including traditional and online methods – to improve your chances of getting your home sold. It’s also important to remember that every home is different, which is why we offer a tailored approach to our sellers to ensure you get the most from your sale.
Picking the right agent is a crucial part of what is likely to be one of your biggest financial transactions. You need someone you can trust, someone who will go above and beyond to ensure the sale goes through without any hiccups. Partnering with a highly trained team, which offers the best possible customer service, is therefore crucial.
Setting the right asking price
To improve your chances of selling quickly, you need to make sure that your initial asking price is set at the right level. For this to be possible, it’s crucial that you work closely with an experienced estate agent with excellent local knowledge to ensure your home isn’t priced incorrectly. Too high and you risk deterring buyers; too low and you run the risk of selling yourself short.
For more information about getting your home sold in South East London, you can contact Living in London on 020 7231 0002.
You'll also probably be eager to know how much your home could be worth in the current market, which is where our expert valuations can help.
When it comes to selling a property, it pays to know what buyers are looking for. If you can provide as many of these features or must-haves as possible, it's inevitable that your chances of selling will increase.
But what are buyers of homes in South East London most likely to be prioritising? Below, using our experience of working as an independent estate agent in the area, we delve a little deeper...
Good, reliable transport links are likely to be a draw for most buyers, but none more so than in London – where many people commute into the City, West End or Canary Wharf for work. South East London is something of a commuter hotspot thanks to its handy location and relative affordability in comparison to more central parts of the capital north of the river.
At Living in London, the areas we operate in – Canada Water, Surrey Quays, Bermondsey, South Bermondsey and Rotherhithe – are blessed with excellent transport links, providing easy access to other parts of the capital.
Canary Wharf is a mere stone's throw away (two minutes on the Jubilee line from Canada Water), while Waterloo can be reached in just seven minutes and Westminster is a nine-minute commute.
Tube, Overground and National Rail are all on offer in this area, while buses, cycling and walking are other popular options. From Rotherhithe or Bermondsey, for example, it's only a short walk or cycle beside the River Thames to Tower Bridge, London Bridge and Borough Market.
As a major selling point, especially in London, good access to strong transport links is hard to beat. It's something that many buyers will prize and is likely to make your property for sale all the more appealing.
Gardens are sometimes smaller and narrower in London given the higher density of housing and tighter streets, but that doesn't mean outside space won't still have appeal to prospective buyers. Green space of any kind is likely to be a popular selling point, so if your home has this it's a good idea to show it off.
All kinds of buyers will be interested in a garden, even more so if it's south-facing.
Of course, at this time of the year, with the nights drawing in and the temperatures falling, the garden is unlikely to see much use. But it shouldn't be neglected or allowed to fall into disrepair.
Shabby, overgrown garden space will not help to get your home sold and could actively hinder your chances. Upon seeing an unmaintained garden, a buyer viewing your property might then be extra aware of any other flaws or issues in your home.
It's therefore a good idea to try and maintain your garden at all times of the year – even more so if you are selling.
Despite all the various transport links on offer, many Londoners still like to have a car on hand. But, in a very busy city where parking spaces are often at a premium, having a car can sometimes seem like more trouble than it's worth if getting a parking slot proves difficult or even impossible.
As such, if you have guaranteed parking spaces outside or close to your property – in the form of a driveway, a garage or a parking permit – this is likely to be a key selling point for many buyers.
Things to do
London is certainly the place to be in the UK if you want easy access to a staggering array of museums (very often free), theatre shows, independent cinemas, shops, restaurants, cafes, markets, leisure centres, green space, music venues and iconic landmarks.
As Samuel Johnson once said, 'when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life' – and if it's things to see and do you're after, the capital is absolutely unrivalled. The buzz, opportunities and cultural prowess of London will definitely be a key factor for people looking to buy here, and it's something you can use as part of your sales strategy.
In the areas where we operate, there is White Cube Bermondsey (a very popular contemporary commercial art gallery), Surrey Quays Shopping Centre, Surrey Quays ODEON, an indoor go-karting venue, Southwark Park and Athletics Centre, the Brunel Museum, the London Bubble Theatre Company, Hawker House street food market and a host of pubs, restaurants, micro-breweries and cafes.
Not to mention the River Thames right on the doorstep, simple access to Canary Wharf and fast commute times to the West End.
Prospective buyers might also be looking for fast broadband speeds and space for a home office if they happen to be self-employed or work from home on a regular basis. The kitchen, meanwhile, is likely to be the most scrutinised room in a home nowadays, while bathrooms, living rooms and master bedrooms will also be closely inspected.
More than anything, of course, buyers will be looking for a clean, attractive, well-maintained home. They'll want the property to be homely and characterful but won't want to feel like they are intruding – so the right balance needs to be struck when it comes to viewings.
For more information about getting your home sold in South East London, you can contact Living in London on 020 7231 0002.
You'll also probably be eager to know how much your home could be worth in the current market, which is where our expert valuations can help.
You need to ensure that your initial asking price is set at the right level to improve your chances of selling quickly, so it's vital that you work with an experienced estate agent with excellent local knowledge to make sure you don't value your home incorrectly.
The days are getting shorter, the nights are drawing in, the leaves are falling off the trees and the temperatures are starting to dip a bit – all of which means we’re leaving summer behind and entering autumn.
Which, as luck would have it, is arguably the best season in which to sell a home as the traditional post-summer boom in housing activity coincides with a desire from buyers to be in their new home before Christmas. It is typically a very busy period – as both buyers and sellers put their home moving plans into action – and here we take a closer look at why that is.
The holidays are over, the kids are back at school, and people want to arrange moves before the festivities begin. This all means activity ramps up in September, October and November. While summer is generally a quieter period for the property industry, this summer was particularly quiet thanks to the excellent weather, World Cup fever and ongoing uncertainty over Brexit negotiations.
The uncertainty over Brexit is still there – and may cause some people to think twice – but other variables are now in favour of stronger market activity.
Given the desire to be in their new home by Christmas, buyers may also be more eager to push through sales in a fast manner, which will be music to the ears of sellers who dread frustrating hold-ups or delays.
As a seller, you can improve your chances of selling by trying to hold viewings in the daytime (when you can shine the best light on your home), clearing your gutters, drains and driveway of leaves, keeping your home warm and toasty during viewings if the weather is cold outside, and decluttering your property so it doesn’t feel too personal or lived in.
Here at Living in London, we operate in one of the capital’s most exciting and up-and-coming areas. In Canada Water, for example, there is what is known as the Canada Water Masterplan, which aims to create a new urban centre for London in SE16.
The project, devised and led by property development and investment firm British Land, puts forward plans for the 53-acre regeneration of Canada Water. After four years of planning and consultation, the plans were finally submitted to Southwark Council in May.
The green light is expected to be given at some point this autumn. If the plans are approved, work could begin on the first detailed plots in spring 2019 (with a target completion date of 2022). The whole Masterplan, in turn, could be completed and fully functioning by 2033.
It would deliver up to 3,000 homes, in addition to retail, leisure, work, entertainment and community space, with the first three buildings set to be constructed on Surrey Quays shopping centre’s current overflow car parks between Deal Porters Way and Canada Water Dock, plus the empty site at Roberts Close.
The first phase would generate 270 homes as well as plans for 285,000 sq ft of workspace, a leisure centre, shops and places to eat and drink. Proposals for affordable social rented housing have also been included.
As well as bringing visitors, tenants and buyers to the area, existing residents of Canada Water will be given a major boost by the project as it becomes a nicer place to live, work and commute from. At present, it could be argued that Canada Water is mostly a commuter hub – a good base for people working elsewhere in the city. However, new leisure, work, entertainment and food/drinks spaces could help to change all that.
Those looking to sell should also be boosted by the plans, with greater media coverage of the area possibly leading to higher levels of interest from potential buyers.
In nearby Rotherhithe, meanwhile, there has been an update on the proposed Rotherhithe Bridge - a pedestrian and cycle bridge which would connect south east London to the docklands peninsular, making ‘sustainable transport a life changing option for thousands of commuters’.
The low lying bridge, downstream from Tower Bridge, will need to be designed so it can open to allow tall boats to pass.
Now, in response to the recent public consultation on the planned bridge, the team behind the initial proposals - reForm Architects and Elliot Wood Engineers – have relocated their design to its original 2013 northern position. The new location, along with a 20% reduction in the scale and 5m reduction in the height of the bridge, would bring ‘tangible public benefits and cost savings to the scheme’.
The update on their official website added: “We once again publicly offer our innovative bascule design for independent scrutiny as part of the ongoing process which TfL confirm will need to demonstrate that the best design and cost outcome has been achieved.”
The bridge, which has the support of the Mayor and TfL, would be the first bridge built in central London to the east of Tower Bridge. But it has proved controversial, with a high-profile and heavily scrutinised battle over the design of the Rotherhithe-to-Canary Wharf crossing.
Consultancy giant Atkins was appointed by TfL in March to provide engineering and architectural support to the project, but reForm Architects is no longer being considered for the design support contract after another design consultancy, Arcadis, allegedly advised against the bascule-type bridge design. It’s still unclear who will actually be responsible for the eventual design of the bridge, but a planning application could be made in 2019 and Sadiq Khan said in the summer of 2017 that he’d like to start construction as soon as possible.
Autumn, then, has so far been busy in terms of developments to the areas we operate in, but as we outlined above it’s also a good time to sell a home – with demand likely to be high as plenty of buyers enter the market seeking a home before the turkey needs carving.
Do you know how much your property is worth?
The market in 2018 has been an interesting one so far, but how has the performance of London's property sector affected the price of your home and how much you could be selling it for? If you would like an 'instant valuation' to get a better idea of what your property is worth for sales or rental, please click here. Or if you would prefer to discuss your options in more depth, please feel free to contact Living in London on 020 7231 0002.