10 January 2013, Richard Hatch, partner and head of residential, paints the local property picture for the coming year.
The past year (2012) has all been about London and I don’t mean the Olympics or the Paralympics. The London effect has hardened its grip on our local housing market, particularly at the premium end, and the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement at the end of last year (05 December) has set the framework for this to continue in 2013.
The London market remains, in prime locations and within select boroughs, in splendid isolation from the main thrust of the UK-wide housing market and those with properties to sell in central Cambridge locations continue to benefit from the basic law of supply and demand when it comes to desirability and price to London’s exiles.
With prime central London values - based on a 2,500 sq ft three bedroom townhouse in Marylebone - having risen by 33% over the last 18 months, it’s not difficult to see why the prime Cambridge equivalent – with the city’s good schools, direct railway access to two of London’s key commercial centres, as well as Cambridge cultural life – is an attraction.
To the relief of many, the Chancellor did not raise direct taxes on residential property and the spectre of the mansion tax has been kicked in to the long grass once again.
But with an extended period of austerity envisaged, expectations of market values will realign and those who have been procrastinating in anticipation of any value improvement in London prices are likely to settle for a lifestyle choice away from the capital.
The brand new developments for sale on the edge of the city at Great Kneighton and Trumpington Meadows attract growing families. And the coming year should see select new developments launched in the historic city centre core, as well as new phases at the railway station.
These high-end, niche new-builds will be watched keenly by those investing in buy-to-let as well as young professionals looking for the kind of re-vamped metropolitan city centre lifestyle now taking shape in our city.
The plans for a second railway station, to be known as ‘Cambridge Science Park’, are likely to boost the market and lift values, in the mid-to-long term, on that side of the city and those related, northern fringe villages such as Impington, Histon and Waterbeach.
While the move by London-exiles could be to an equivalent style of city like Bath, Winchester or Oxford, Cambridge is very much in the running. And what goes on in any city’s prime residential market always has a ripple effect through all its tiers - whether that be sales or lettings.