Property Buyers Guide

Property prices in the UK fluctuate, but one notable exception to this rule is London. Aside from the occasional minor drop, prices in the capital tend to rise consistently, demonstrating the city’s continued popularity with home buyers and investors alike. London is a unique and diverse property location, so it’s essential to find out as much as you can about available properties. In this guide, you’ll find valuable information about the housing market and how to purchase a property in the capital successfully.

Then, when you’re ready, please contact one of our teams. We’re leading estate agents in London Bridge, Shad Thames, and Rotherhithe, and have decades of experience helping people find the perfect property to buy.

1) Research the market: London is a vast, diverse city, and some areas are more popular than others. Research online and find out as much as possible about the locations you’re interested in, or talk to a local estate agent based in London, like us, and we can answer any questions you might have.

2) Check it works for the future: When purchasing a property, don’t just focus on the present; consider your future plans, too. For example, living above a nightclub might be acceptable as a young adult, but it would be distinctly undesirable if you decide to have children in the future!

3) Research average prices: Find out what properties have previously sold for on the same street to ensure you're securing a good price. Remember, if the area is being regenerated it may be worthwhile exploring the available options in that location as prices may be set to climb in the future.

As with any house purchase in the UK, when buying in London, you will pay several one-off fees. You’ll likely require a solicitor or conveyancer to conduct the relevant searches and legal work to ensure you remain within the law when buying. You’ll also need to pay Stamp Duty Land Tax if your property purchase exceeds £250,000 (£425,000 for first-time buyers). Other costs include survey fees, mortgage application fees, moving expenses and building insurance.

Another option is to enter a shared ownership arrangement with a friend or a shared ownership scheme. This is a process where you purchase shares in your property over an extended period of time. It’s an effective way to get on the London property market on a limited budget, but it is essential to hire a solicitor to draft up an agreement if you’re purchasing with a friend to avoid future conflict.

If the more desirable London locations are too expensive for your budget, look to the surrounding boroughs instead, such as Elephant & Castle and Southwark, and parts of East London, which are currently experiencing considerable regeneration. Kate Faulkner from Property Checklists comments: “Properties in these areas might not be exactly what people want, where they want, but it’s a start. Don’t forget that leveraging can be a good way of upgrading to the ideal house.” By investing in a cheaper London location and then selling at a profit, you can reinvest in a more desirable area.

Whether you’re a landlord or a homebuyer, transport links are inevitably a top priority. Being close to the local underground station or a bus stop is of paramount importance when you live and work in London - the shorter the commute time, the better. In addition to finding out where your nearest transport links are, find out about future plans too. For example, London’s £14.8 billion Crossrail development has created ten new stations, and there are plans to upgrade a further 30, with runs from Reading and Heathrow in the west through to Shenfield and Abbey Wood to the east. The new Crossrail stations at Tottenham Court Road and Bond Street, for example, will provide faster commutes for people in the surrounding areas like Waterloo and Covent Garden—likewise, Docklands benefits from Canary Wharf’s new Crossrail link. If you buy a property close to a new Crossrail station, you are likely to enjoy a shorter commute time and probably benefit from capital growth on your purchase, too.

According to a recent report, nearly half of all London properties costing £1 million or over were purchased by foreign buyers. This has caused prices to climb upwards in certain locations, but it is important to remember that property values differ significantly depending on which area of London you want to purchase in. For example, some of the areas that we cover, areas such as East London and Bermondsey, covered by our Rotherhithe estate agency branch and Shad Thames estate agency office, are considerably cheaper than places like Kensington and Chelsea - but the recent regeneration of these locations makes them a worthwhile consideration for investment. When deciding where to buy, identify which areas are being developed – they are likely to be future property hotspots.

London’s population is rising rapidly. A recent housing in London report revealed that the population is predicted to reach 10 million by 2035. Unsurprisingly, this has made prices rise in certain areas. The city remains appealing to buyers of all ages, particularly property investors. Approximately 21% of Londoners own their house outright, and 26% rent privately – these figures are even higher in Central London. Therefore, if you’re looking for buy-to-let property in London, you will enjoy high demand and a sizeable rental income. However, the government’s current focus is on providing more affordable properties for first-time home buyers, and as a result, new developments are being built across the city.

We’ve mentioned it a few times in this guide, but we can’t stress more strongly how important it is to work with an experienced and trusted local London estate agent. Understanding the local property market and having an established reputation means that, as a buyer, you get excellent advice and access to the best available properties for sale. Hastings International has operated in London Bridge, Shad Thames, Rotherhithe, and the surrounding areas for decades. We have an excellent reputation and access to the best local property on offer. Get in touch with our team, and we’ll help you find the property that is right for you.