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hank zarihs associates

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BDC 318 : Jul 2024

hank zarihs associates

£690m brownfield development in Northwest London to deliver 1,500 homes

Harrow council’s ambitious plans for over 1,500 homes to be built on three underused sites moved a step closer with the news of a joint development venture with Wates Residential. At least 40 per cent of the new homes are to be shared ownership or affordable housing and will be built on council-owned land in Wealdstone. Harrow council leader Cllr Graham Henson said: “Our work with Wates will benefit countless local people and improve the lives of generations to come. As we begin to emerge from the devastating pandemic, I want this to signal the start of our renewal.” The ten-year initiative will include a new civic centre, commercial space as well as green public spaces at Poets Corner, Peel Road and Byron Quarter. Local residents will be consulted extensively on the proposals with the plans to come forward later this year on phase one of the Byron Corner. Wates Residential executive managing director Helen Bunch said: “The regeneration goes beyond the building infrastructure, and as part of the partnership with Harrow, we are committed to supporting the local community by providing apprenticeships, new jobs, spend in the local community and early careers support for the local schools and colleges.” New jobs and apprenticeships to be generated Wates Residential plans to create more than 300 jobs for local people and 180 apprenticeships in Wealdstone – the former home of the Kodak Harrow plant which closed in 2016. The housebuilder also said it was investing in local companies and environmental initiatives including a tree-planting project. Wates was identified as a preferred bidder to form a development partnership with the council back in September last year. The council’s equity is made up in part by the value of the three development sites it owns plus a top up to match Wates’s investment, which will be found from borrowing. The long-term business case is projected to return £120m. Property finance brokers Hank Zarihs Associates said that property development finance lenders were keen to offer construction loans for mixed-use schemes in locations with good tube and rail connections.

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London’s ‘green and pleasant’ multi-million-pound residences thrive

A room with a view, a front door onto the street, and a garden are proving more seductive for the wealthy than a James Bond-style bachelor pad in Chelsea. London’s high-end housing market is surprising estate agents who are reporting increased transactions for properties worth more than £5m. Estate agents Dexters marketing director Richard Page says: “Since the market re-opened we’ve had more than 9,000 viewing appointments across London per week and our website has never had so much traffic with 90,000 visits a week. “London is busy and people are getting on with their lives.” However, travel restrictions mean foreign investors are no longer driving the market. Demand for a pied-à- Terre in traditional super-prime hotspots such as Belgravia, Chelsea, Kensington, Marylebone, and Westminster have waned. Global estate agents Savills says central London prime properties are currently on sale for 21 percent less and sales activity is slow. Savills PR director Sue Laming says: “The prices are good value for non-sterling buyers and normally we would expect the market to pick up. Right now, these buyers are physically not in the market.” London’s green villages are on a roll Instead, rich domestic buyers and people from abroad who have already made London their home are the ones buying homes in the city’s desirable green districts. Finance brokers Hank Zarihs Associates chief executive Shiraz Khan says: “The rich no longer need a pad near their office in the City but a country style home within easy reach of the big smoke where they can work and relax.” Trendy green oases like Fulham, Islington, St John’s Wood, Notting Hill, and Dulwich are attracting intense interest from buyers who have up to £10m to spend. Property network LonRes research and data analysis head Marcus Dixon says: “A high proportion of moves are life-style ones whether it’s to move from a flat to a house or the countryside.” Estate agents Knight Frank’s head of residential research Tom Bill agrees saying the market for family houses in these areas has shown a month-on-month rise. “Family houses in these districts are doing very well. There’son top  strong momentum in the market.” Although he admits most of August and September’s exchanges were related to pre-lockdown sales. The pandemic has also led to longer times of up to six months for a sale to complete. The type of buyer has also changed with the home-grown purchaser outnumbering overseas ones. “We are seeing a higher proportion of domestic moves rather than international. This has meant that areas of central London with a high proportion of flats and little outside space, which were appealing to overseas buyers, are less busy than leafier areas with houses and green space,” says Dixon. He says that September has shown a 21 percent year-on-year increase on houses under offer but says this is skewed in favor of more expensive properties. “People aren’t buying small flats for investment. They are making long-term larger property decisions.” The capital’s resilience is partly due to the city’s good schools and universities which are commanding wealthy people’s loyalty. Page says: “I think London is still seen as a safe haven. There’s still demand here driven by access to a good education and cultural life. They tend to take a long-term view.” In fact, sales for properties worth more than £5m in September are showing a 29 percent year-on-year increase according to LonRes figures. The rich take a life-long view Bill agrees that the wealthy are in the fortunate position to be thinking 20 to 40 years ahead and are less restricted by banks tightening their lending criteria. “The high net worth prime buyers are less constrained by the mortgage market,” he says. “The ability to react and respond is something we’ve seen with the prime buyers.” But there’s trepidation about how the market will fare at the end of March when the stamp duty holiday on properties worth up to £500,000 ends. Although, stamp duty savings of £15,000 helps wealthy buyers it’s not a make or break issue for buying a high-end des res. But it is important for stimulating activity at the lower end of the market which enables the wealthy to free up assets and buy more high-end properties. “There will be a rush of activity then afterward there will be a slump and buyers will demand price drops,” says Dixon. On top of that, an extra 2 percent surcharge on stamp duty for overseas buyers will kick-in in April 2021. Bill adds that political uncertainty with Brexit, changes to capital gains tax, and higher stamp duty are likely to contribute to a more subdued market next Spring. The page is optimistic that the future for London, although a little tricky in the near-term, will be bright in the long run. “London goes through trials and tribulations, but it always comes through and it generally comes through stronger.

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