Only people who haven’t lived in London for the last five years would think that King’s Cross is a seedy area. The good news about its rapid regeneration has spread far and wide throughout the city and it’s now a respectable place to buy a home.
“It’s a great example where redevelopment has created a whole new location in which to live and work,” says Nina Coulter, Savills’ residential director. “Increasingly, people are happy to live, work and play in the same location and King’s Cross ticks all these boxes.”
Huge companies, the biggest being Google, Universal and the Guardian Media Group, have moved their London headquarters to the area recently, and this in turn has attracted an impressive amount of retail investment from hip foodie chains like Caravan and Kerb. The presence of Central St Martins School of Art and Design, another recent convert, has also injected new, young life into Granary Square.
Initially, this boosted buy-to-let transactions in the area, “attracting savvy investors and overseas buyers looking to attract high end corporate tenants from local bluechip companies such as Google,” according to Michael Keating, manager at Dexters Bloomsbury, adding that a two bed rental in King’s Cross ranges from £500-£900 per week these days.
And they certainly had the last laugh as Land Registry data compiled by Hamptons International shows that average house prices have increased by 47 per cent in five years. Prices of resales are even more impressive, as they’ve increased by 61 per cent over the same period.
“As an example, we sold an apartment in Goldington Crescent for £390,000 in 2010, and this year we sold the same apartment for £695,000,” says Samuel Burkesmith, sales valuer at Foxtons’ Camden office.
Some of this can be attributed to the large number of luxury new builds that have been completed in the last few years, at places like The Plimsoll Building, Tapestry and Gasholders London, striking homes within a triplet of Grade II Listed former industrial structures that start at £810,000.
Hamptons research analyst David Fell says that homes like these “that reflect the history of the neighbourhood have outperformed the market”, where other schemes on the prime fringes have struggled. Four in 10 sales were new builds last year, he says, and the highest price achieved on record is a flat in The Plimsoll Building that sold for £3.455m.
Big tech firms have a reliable history of boosting house prices, according to Kay & Co. The estate agent recorded a surge of up to 60 per cent in five years in Cambridge, Reading and Oxford after they became established tech hubs and the same sort of growth is predicted for Fitzrovia (Snap), Soho (Twitter) and King’s Cross (Google).
This has also emanated out to wider King’s Cross and Bloomsbury. “There’s renewed interest in period buildings and developments completed 10 and 20 years ago, as they now represent good value for money,” says Sam Ball, sales manager in Knight Frank’s King’s Cross office.
It also helps that this Zone One location is one of the best connected places in the UK, with the Eurostar and links to the North proving particularly lucrative.
The average property price has now edged over £1m, according Land Registry, so King’s Cross is well-established as a desirable place to live.
London restaurant giant D&D – owners of Coq d’Argent and Skylon at the Royal Festival Hall – has opened up an outpost in King’s Cross called German Gymnasium and it’s been a resounding hit, serving Mittel-European cuisine on its vast heated terraces. Plum + Spilt Milk, named after the livery work by the dining cars of the Flying Scotsman, is also a staple at the Great Northern Hotel, serving Modern British food at a reasonable price. If you haven’t visited Granary Square, it’s a crisp, crowded public piazza that feels like a buzzy university campus in summer. You can also download an app for free and control its dancing fountains. Its rejuvenation can be attributed in part to Central St Martins School of Art and Design, which moved into a converted warehouse in King’s Cross in 2011. And no visit to NW1 is complete without a visit to the British Library, which isn’t just the national library of the UK, but also the largest library in the world by number of items catalogued.
House prices Source: Zoopla
Transport Source: TfL
Time to Canary Wharf: 21 mins
Time to Liverpool Street: 7 mins
Nearest train station: King’s Cross
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