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Research 11 February 2015

Chestertons Residential Observer - February 2015

Transport for London (TfL) has announced plans which will make it become one of London's largest developers.

Nick Barnes, Head of Research

UK residential property transaction numbers in December rose by 6.5% compared to November and were 2.3% up on the December 2013 figure. Transaction numbers for 2014 as a whole reached 1.23 m – the highest number recorded since 2007 and 13.9% up on 2013.

The stock of properties available for sale remains low in relation to buyer demand. Rightmove reports that available stock in January fell by 10% compared to the same period in 2014, while data reveal that the number of properties for sale on its website in January was just 1.5% higher than the record low recorded in March 2014.

Work has started on the redevelopment of Centre Point opposite Tottenham Court Road tube station. Developer Almacantar's £350m redevelopment will convert the landmark office tower into 82 exclusive residential apartments plus retail and restaurant space. The project is scheduled for completion in 2017.

Transport for London (TfL) has announced plans which will make it become one of London's largest developers. TfL has identified 75 sites, the majority within zones 1&2, which could be brought forward over the next decade. These are likely to include private rented sector assets and would benefit from proximity to existing transport nodes.

Landlords' confidence in capital gains has almost trebled over the last two years, according to a National Landlords' Association (NLA) survey. However, the findings show that 32% of landlords say they might not be able to meet their mortgage repayments if interest rates were to rise in the near future. Meanwhile, the NLA has warned against relying on capital gains as a primary investment strategy and advises when planning for the long term to look for sustainable yields.

New figures from the National House Building Council (NHBC) show that developers are building the highest number of detached homes for a decade - more than during the peak of the property boom in 2007. Last year saw a 24% increase in the number of detached houses registered with NHBC. London accounted for the highest proportion (26.6%) of total regional housing completions in 2014.

NB comment: revised data from HMRC show that sales activity picked up at the end of last year and several property portals reported high levels of activity in January. Concerns about possible interest rate hikes appear to be receding, however tax issues and the General Election are likely to slow the market, especially at the prime end.

Download Chestertons Residential Observer - February 2015