London is frequently ranked as one of the most popular places to live and work, and in 2013 the population of London grew by 108,000 to reach 8.4 million.
With a current buoyant property market and official figures stating that London’s population will top 10 million within 15 years, building new property developments is necessary to ensure there is no shortage of housing for London house movers.
Why Buy a New Build?
Although many people list ‘character features’ in their property priorities when house hunting, new build properties offer many advantages you won’t be able to find in older homes.
Your new build London home may not offer the same initial charm of a Victorian terrace, but what they lack in character they more than make up for in decoration potential. A brand new, neutrally decorated home offers a blank canvas which you can personalise to your tastes, without having to remove old tiles and carpets.
As they are built to up to date environmental standards, newly built properties will likely be more energy efficient and, therefore, will be cheaper to run. You will also benefit from the 10 year warranty and protection scheme issued by the NHBC for new build properties that are registered with the National House-Building Council.
When buying a new build home, there won’t be a chain involved; you won’t have to worry about the seller finding their next home or the seller’s purchase falling through and subsequently affecting the completion of your property purchase.
Not all new developments, however, will be newly built buildings. Many new developments in London will be the renovation and conversion of existing buildings, such as warehouses, so you may be able to find a new home that combines the advantages of a new build with the appealing character features of an older property. This is a prevalent property type in Shoreditch, so you may want to consider looking for a new London home in Shoreditch if this is something you may be interested in.
With the unprecedented rise in London’s population, it is claimed that 42,000 homes will be needed to be built each year over the next 20 years to manage this population increase.
Professional London developers will be knowledgeable about where is best to build new properties to attract buyers, so new developments will usually be close to good facilities and transport links.
All regions across London are seeing new developments being built to provide additional housing to the area. We have listed a number a new build developments in the north, south, east and west areas of London.
An area of North London which is undergoing huge regeneration is Tottenham, having been given £1 billion for the rebuilding of the district as part of the 20 year plan. With the new Tottenham Hotspur stadium development anticipated to be completed in 2017, which will include over 200 homes, offices and a University Technical College, and improvements to transport links into the city, the area is set to see a revival.
On Tottenham High Road is Newlon Housing Trust’s Brook House development, expected to be completed in spring 2015. This development, on the site of the old Cannon Rubber factory, includes over 200 new one, two and three bedroom homes, with 100 available through Shared Ownership.
The development is in N17, an up and coming area with an improving image. The average property price in Tottenham is £292,087, significantly lower than its borough’s average price of £491,594.
Tottenham is not the only North London area that has seen a boost from a new football stadium. Queensland Terrace is a new development by Barratt Homes next door to the Emirates Stadium in Islington. Located in Zone 2, Holloway Road is the closest tube station to the development and Highbury Village is in walking distance.
The development is expected to be finished by June 2015 and can be purchased through the Help to Buy scheme. It comprises of three blocks of apartments and the prices range from £345,000 to £635,000.
As a town nominated for city status, Croydon is undergoing much redevelopment as part of the Croydon Vision 2020.
Several luxury Docklands-style apartment buildings have been built in Croydon recently, and Saffron Square has been under construction since 2011. Full completion of the development, which includes a 24 hour concierge and residents’ gym, is expected in 2016.
Saffron Square includes Saffron Tower, an addition to the Croydon skyline at 43 storeys high. The contemporary development is in the heart of Croydon on Wellesley Road, between the railway stations of East Croydon and West Croydon, with prices from £420,000.
The London Borough of Wandsworth is said to be building more new homes that any other London borough, including the new development in Battersea Reach. Battersea Reach, located in the SW18 postcode on the banks of the River Thames, is described as one of London’s most prestigious residences; the price tag matches its exclusivity, with the apartments costing from £850,000 to £7,000,000.
Synonymous with the South London district of Battersea is Battersea Power Station, where home buyers now have the opportunity to buy a home in the iconic building. The development includes a total of 1,305 flats and a doctor’s clinic, in addition to a number of shops, cafes and restaurants.
The extravagant Battersea prices continue with this development, with prices starting for one bedroom flats at £590,000, over £100,000 more expensive than the Wandsworth borough average for flats.
In recent years, most notably for the London Olympic Games in 2012, East London has seen a significant amount of regeneration.
Close to the Olympic Stadium, in E3 in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, is Parkside Bow. It is an exclusive development of one and two bedroom apartments, and three bedroom duplexes, set on landscaped courtyards and gardens. It has an anticipated completion date of late 2015.
Parkside Bow is well connected to Stratford, Canary Wharf and The City of London, with local transport links of the DLR and Central Line.
Pembury Circus, a new build development in Hackney comprising of studio, one, two and three bedroom apartments, is located in the E8 postcode and constructed by Bellway Homes. Its surrounding area offers local amenities, and it is close to Hackney Downs and Hackney Central stations for transportation across London.
The Hackney development has a number of on-site facilities, including a fitness suite, concierge service and residents’ roof terrace, and the apartments benefit from good-sized living areas and modern interiors. Its prospective completion date is from December 2014 to February 2015.
The development of Hackney is not limited to the housing sector, with proposals for a Hackney Fashion Hub as part of a £2 million regeneration of the area.
Overlooking a nature reserve and near to the River Thames is the new West London housing development of Chiswick Point, expected to be completed by Spring 2015. Prices range from £599,995 to £1,250,000, above the W4 average of £497,988 for flats. Help to Buy is available on selected plots.
The stylish, contemporary development is close to stations Chiswick Park and Gunnersbury, and near Chiswick High Road, home to many independent and high street retailers.
Further west to Chiswick Point is the 11 acre waterside development of Brentford Lock West, situated on the banks of the Grand Union Canal. Its development is managed by ISIS Waterside Regeneration and is currently in its second phase – due for completion in 2015.
Brentford Lock West offers 520 new one, two and three bedroom properties in a vibrant and social community. Prices start from £264,950 and three bedroom apartments will be from £566,950. With average prices for flats in Brentford at £357,848, there are affordable options available and selected properties can be purchased through NewBuy.
Affordable Housing Schemes
An additional positive of buying a new build are the available affordable housing schemes that aim to help buyers afford to get onto the property ladder, such as Help to Buy and Shared Ownership.
Help to Buy provides the opportunity to buy a home without a large deposit; you can have a deposit of 5% or more to be eligible. Although the Equity Loan aspect of Help to Buy is limited to new build properties, not all developments will offer this scheme. Help to Buy is only available for homes valued £600,000 or less.
Many housing organisations also offer Shared Ownership schemes, where buyers purchase a percentage of the market value of the property and pay rent on the remaining percentage. You can increase your stake in the property as and when you can afford to.
Viewing a New Build Property
Although you may be thinking about buying a property that is not yet complete, you should visit the site to see how it is being managed and view one of the show homes. Be sure to find out what is included in the property you are buying, as show homes often have extras included and be furnished to the highest specification. If possible, see if you can visit the plot you will be purchasing and when it will be completed.
It is advisable that you research the association in charge of the development and any of their previous work to get an idea of the quality of their buildings and to check that they are reputable house builders.
If the property you are interested in is still in construction, you may be able to negotiate with the builders to include the fittings that you desire, including kitchen counters and bathroom fixtures. You could also ask for white goods to be included.
You should find out about the security of the building. As many of London’s new developments are modern flats and apartment complexes, they are likely to have high specification alarms and security systems. Despite this, the ‘mini-village’ community of new London developments will mean there are a high number of people in the vicinity at all times of the day, so it is important to discover the security measures in place.
Finding a new build property in London still brings with it a number of the same considerations as buying an existing property. For advice on finding a home in London, take a look at our article, ‘London Property – How to Find a House’.
Buying a New Build Property
When buying a home in a new development, it is important that you employ a conveyancing solicitor with experience in the purchase of new build properties. Your conveyancing solicitor will undertake the necessary searches to ensure the appropriate permission has been obtained for the building of the development and the implementation of roads and sewers. New builds may sometimes be built on flood plains; your solicitor will do thorough environmental searches to notify you of any issues with potential flooding.
It is essential you find an expert property lawyer that can keep you informed about completion time and any issues with snagging.
Bear in mind that some lenders will be cautious about offering a mortgage for new build flats, as it can be difficult to ascertain the value of a flat in a newly build development.
You should also note that most mortgage lenders will not release the funds until all the work is completed, which can cause complications if the developer wants you to pay for the property before building is complete. With mortgage offers typically only valid for three to six months, if you organise your finances too early you could lose your mortgage agreement in principle. Loans specifically for new build properties are available, so it is worth researching the available deals.
Buying a new build home can be a great way to create your ideal home, but, like any home purchase, make sure that you utilise the advice of professionals to help your house move go to plan.
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