Opinion: Tech City and the impact it's had on the property market in east London – is it now considered prime central London?

Raul Cimesa
Shoreditch, now considered a prime area on the City fringe

Tech City on the City fringe has established itself in recent years as the third-largest tech start-up cluster in the world. But it’s no longer just for start-ups, with global giants like Google and now Amazon moving in.

Amazon alone is taking 514,000sqft of office space in Principal Place in Shoreditch, proving it to be the hub of technology-focused, creative London.

For the housing market, this means that demand in Shoreditch is consistently high and only getting higher as people want to work there and live there, too. The focus for developers has been shifting over the last ten years into the City and East London, and over the past five years in particular, we have seen schemes with similarly high specification, design principles and hotel-like amenities to those on offer in western parts of the capital.

Tech City and the wider Shoreditch area is now part of the Prime Central London market, and this seems to be spreading even further eastwards. Property prices in Hackney, for example, have grown by 13 per cent in the two years to April 2017.

As prime buyers are moving into east London, developers are forced to provide higher quality housing. According to our recent Knight Frank survey of prime buyers, 64 per cent said they were willing to pay a premium for a higher specification – namely, better quality of materials, kitchens, storage, fixtures and fittings and communal spaces.

There has been a noticeable shift in residential spaces in particular; many buyers are looking to balance their work and home environments, with areas to socialise and keep fit in, so entertaining spaces like communal games rooms, libraries and lounges are becoming the new norm in this part of town.

In the same survey, more than 43 per cent of respondents said super-fast broadband is essential, even more so for home workers in and around Tech City. As a result, we’ve seen more schemes advertising these features, such as Long & Waterson, a new housing scheme in Shoreditch, which has installed super-fast fibre optic broadband in its homes. Increasingly eco-conscious tech workers also like the ease with which they can walk or cycle into the office, and are not concerned about having a car, either.

These creative buyers are also looking for flexible layouts – sliding walls and open-plan spaces more often than not – preferring space they can adapt into a temporary office, larger living room or perhaps another bedroom.

They want to design their home according to their needs, to allow for flexibility and creativity, whether they’re using the space to work or entertain. This is not only led by owner occupiers; we’re seeing people who work in the area investing in buy-to-let or rentals within a short distance of their offices.

Great shopping, nightlife and businesses have been a feature of the City fringe for years, but now it has high quality housing, too.

Read more: Why we need overseas property investment in the UK

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