2013’s Top PCL Performers: Big houses in SW7 & small flats in W1

Values across prime central London have increased by 8.7% over the last 12 months, according to acquisition firm Huntly Hooper, with W14 seeing the biggest price per square foot boost of all. But how much do big stats like this actually tell us?

The firm has been analysing some 7,500 property sales across central London between 2012 and 2013, together with a further 5,500 sales records made in 2013 across greater London.

Some nice figures have come out of all this of course, but HH makes a big deal of saying it’s not all about the headlines; “To be able to take advantage of investment opportunities a true understanding of the market is needed”, says Oliver Hooper, a surveyor and director at the firm. He makes a very good point.

Here’s a few headlines anyway:

  • Headline figures for prime central London (PCL) show 8.7% growth over the last 12 months, but this conceals a variation in price growth which ranges from between minus 1.6% to 21.7%.
  • W14 saw the greatest increase in price paid per square foot in 2013 at 15.1%. Price growth was slowest in NW1 where on average values rose by just 3.2%.
  • Over 2012-13  flats outperformed the 8.7% average at 11.7%, while houses lagged some way behind rising in value by 7.6%.
  • Across PCL smaller properties (under 1,000 square feet) saw some of the strongest price growth at 11.1%. Average sized homes (1,500 – 5,000 square feet) saw values underperform (5.2%), while the largest properties (over 5,000 square feet) saw prices rise by 6.8%.
  • In the ‘golden postcodes’ of SW1, SW3, SW7, W1 and W8, average values per square foot rose by 10.5% (over the last 12 months) outperforming PCL. But price fluctuations reveal greater volatility.
  • Within the golden postcodes, the top performers in 2013 were large houses in SW7, one bedroom flats in W1 and flats in SW3 with two or more bedrooms.

Oliver Hooper: “London’s housing market is a complex one where headline house prices mask significant variations between the capital’s many sub-markets. When it comes to purchasing property, detail is key. Robust data at a granular level is essential in helping buyers to make better decisions before they purchase. Put simply, headline figures don’t tell the whole story.

“The golden postcodes make up a much sought after market, keenly fought over by investors and owner occupiers alike. While they clearly exhibit greater price volatility, they also provide the potential to make some of the highest investment gains.

“The research clearly demonstrates that headline data by itself is just not enough. To be able to take advantage of investment opportunities a true understanding of the market is needed. It is only by digging beneath the headlines that the all important detail comes to the surface.

“The research is based upon the most up to date data available (2012 – 2013) and provides a strong indication of how the market will perform in the year ahead. While there are large areas of London currently undergoing regeneration and attracting buyers, our research shows that prime central London, and more specifically the golden postcodes, continues to offer the best returns for investors armed with the right data.”

You can delve into the intricacies by downloading the full report on huntlyhooper.com