Tony Usher, Associate Director (sales) at JLL’s Canary Wharf office, comments on the City & East London sales market:
“The big news in Canary Wharf this month was the that the Qatari-led bid for Canary Wharf was finally accepted at £2.6bn by current owners, Songbird Estates. In a statement, the Songbird Estates board acknowledged that joint bidders, the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), and Brookfield Property Partners, had succeeded in securing support from 65% of shareholders.
“All eyes will now be on the QIA and Brookfield property partners to see where they take the Canary Wharf estate from here. Planning was passed to develop Wood Wharf which is expected to start shortly and we expect that the QIA, with their prior experience in commercial and residential property across the globe, will look to make quick work of the building opportunity and make Canary Wharf a worldwide destination.
“However, his hasn’t yet been felt in the local property market and the upcoming elections have taken centre stage. It seems property and tax are high on the agenda of both main political parties, which has bought some uncertainty within, what is usually, one of Canary Wharf’s busiest periods, ‘bonus season’. Normally we have an influx of UK Canary Wharf and City workers looking to invest their bonus payments in bricks and mortar, however, after a promising January, the balance of buyers to properties seems to be swinging in the buyers favour, where cash rich buyers are holding onto their funds to get a sense of where the election and policies are heading before purchasing. We feel this will be short lived and once May has passed, we expect normality to return.
“CGT may also be partly to blame for the sudden surge in available property, with overseas vendors choosing to sell now that it has been confirmed that overseas residents will be exposed to Capital Gains Tax from 6th April 2015, on the relevant amount of profit on disposal of their residential investment properties. The amount of capital gain relating to the period prior to 5th April 2015 is not taxable, only the element corresponding to the subsequent period.”
City & East London property lettings market
Neil Short, Head of Agency at JLL’s City office, comments on the City & East lettings market: “We have seen a positive start to 2015. The increase in the number of tenants searching for a property was well matched with some good stock, including St. Dunstan’s Court (Fetter Lane) which started to complete just before Christmas, and Parliament House (Albert Embankment) where completions commenced early January. The supply of new homes is good at present, in comparison to 2014 where we had limited availability.
“Looking further east, strong demand continues in Shoreditch and Aldgate, notably Avantgarde (by Shoreditch High Street station) which has seen rents increase up to 20% since the start of 2014. As we approach the end of Q1 2015, completions will commence within Cityscape, a new development from Telford Homes. The development is moments from the City and next to Aldgate East station, with amenities that include 24 hour concierge, residents’ gym and roof garden. We have already had strong interest within the development, having agreed lets prior to the first completion notices being served. We expect a strong Q2 in Aldgate with the Cityscape completions, which should continue into Q3 with the completions at Goodman’s Fields (Leman Street) commencing.
“As we approach the general election in May, and the slowing of the sales market as buyers and sellers alike bide their time, there will be a natural shift towards the lettings market. This should have a positive impact with more people turning to rentals as a short term option. However, with Ed Miliband setting out plans to scrap agency fees, control rental increases and bring in mandatory 3 year tenancies, a Labour victory could have significant implications on the lettings market over the coming year or two.”
South East property sales market
Graham Lawes, Associate Director at JLL’s Blackheath office, comments on the South East sales market: “We are seeing a notable migration of buyers from parts of North and West London setting up home in the Royal Borough of Greenwich thanks to it being comparably good value for money. This, coupled with high local demand, is fuelling the prices and momentum is set to continue throughout the year.
“For City workers, the accessibility to Canary Wharf is a huge attraction; young professionals and high earners are drawn to the area thanks to the addition of new boutiques, high end restaurants and bars opening in the historical borough. Families are also attracted to the Royal Borough thanks to its excellent local schools with impressive Ofsted reports.
“It is widely regarded that parts of the South East will see prices rise beyond the national average and that there is a huge disparity from one side of London to the other. The imminent arrival of Crossrail will no doubt add to this fact.
“Blackheath and Greenwich will continue to attract interest but I anticipate Lewisham (SE13) Charlton (SE7), Woolwich (SE18), Plumstead (SE18), and Abbey Wood (SE2) to see the largest growth percentages over the next year as properties there are excellent value.”
South East property lettings market
Charlotte Russell, Assistant Manager (lettings) of JLL’s Greenwich office, comments on the South East lettings market: “This year, the rental market in Greenwich and Blackheath has been particularly strong for one and two bedroom properties. These properties have achieved up to 18% increases in rents year on year in some areas, largely due to relocation for employment into Canary Wharf and the City. Such relocations have positively impacted the rental market, particularly now that Greenwich is offering riverside developments to match Canary Wharf, and this has increased both the popularity of the area and spectrum of tenants. Additionally, we are seeing more people staying in their properties longer term with minimal void periods between tenancies.
“Looking ahead to spring, we anticipate that the rental market will remain buoyant, particularly going in to the warmer months, when tenants prefer to move, and we have no doubt that riverside living will remain popular with potential tenants. We hope that new developments such as Platinum Riverside, Greenland Place, Peninsula Tower, and the ever growing Royal Arsenal Riverside in Woolwich, will keep the market in good supply as the demand increases.“
JLL (NYSE: JLL) is a professional services and investment management firm offering specialized real estate services to clients seeking increased value by owning, occupying and investing in real estate. With annual fee revenue of $4.0 billion and gross revenue of $4.5 billion, JLL has more than 200 corporate offices, operates in 75 countries and has a global workforce of approximately 53,000.
On behalf of its clients, the firm provides management and real estate outsourcing services for a property portfolio of 3.0 billion square feet, or 280.0 million square meters, and completed $99.0 billion in sales, acquisitions and finance transactions in 2013.
Its investment management business, LaSalle Investment Management, has $53.0 billion of real estate assets under management. JLL is the brand name, and a registered trademark, of Jones Lang LaSalle Incorporated. For further information, visit www.jll.com.