London homes in the pipeline see sharp rise

Kasmira Jefford
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THE NUMBER of homes awaiting planning consent has leapt by 116 per cent in the past quarter as developers rush to exploit London’s recent growth in high-end home sales.

Data published yesterday by property advisers CBRE shows there were 6,548 units in central London awaiting consent in the first three months of 2013 compared with 3,023 units in the fourth quarter of last year.

“This was encouraging because it shows confidence from developers. But this will be over a long period of time of five to 10 years and does not come anywhere near meeting housing demand,” Helen Gray, associate director at CBRE told City A.M.

The Mayor Boris Johnson recently said building work began on 10,092 homes in 2012-13 — up from 4,017 the previous financial year.

This still leaves London far short of Johnson’s target of producing 32,000 new homes a year to cope with the capital’s population boom.

Popularity for living inside the Capital has pushed the average price of an apartment in prime Central London up to £1.1m, recent Land Registry figures show.

“Changes to Stamp Duty initially had an unsettling effect on the prime residential market. But the enduring appeal of London has outweighed negative sentiment, as shown by increasing sales of high value homes,” Mark Collins, chairman of residential at CBRE, said.

Research by fellow property advisor Savills shows that £1m-plus deals in the London region rose by 7.8 per cent, to close the year eight per cent above their 2007 peak.

The capital accounted for two-thirds of the total 7,734 £1m-plus sales in England and Wales in 2012, Savills, who has analysed Land Registry figures, said.

As well as prime London boroughs, the new build homes have also seen strong demand, with 49 per cent of homes under construction selling off-plan over the last year compared with 48 per cent at the peak of the market in 2007.

“In the City alone, 76 per cent of new build properties have been purchased prior to completion, demonstrating the eagerness of buyers wishing to invest in London property,” Collins said.