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Build to Rent

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Published: 05/04/2018   Last Updated: 05/04/2018 09:14:18   Tags: Build To Rent, UK, Lettings, Rental, London, City Living London

In many countries such as the US, Germany and France, purpose-built blocks of rental homes are commonly found. In Britain they are a relatively new phenomenon, but are fast becoming a hot investment for property developers and city firms such as Legal & General, which are eager to tap into the rising trend for long-term renting. The sector is expanding throughout England, with 80,855 Build to Rent homes either completed or planned, according to recent official figures.
Quintain’s Wembley Park development, which will include 5,000 purpose-built rental homes, is the biggest build-to-rent project in the UK, worth £3bn. The 85-acre site is due to be completed in 2025-26, about 15,000 people are expected to be living and working on the site. Currently, more than 1,300 homes have already been built and a further 3,000 are under construction. The tallest tower will be 26 storeys, but not high enough to look into the stadium. Most of the planned 63 new buildings will have roof gardens, office buildings, a primary school, a theatre, health facilities and a park the size of four football pitches is planned.
The rent will include utility bills and ultra-fast broadband. Communal lounge areas adjacent to the entrance come with kitchenettes and Sky TV; there is a residents’ gym and screening room and a concierge is on hand 24 hours a day to deal with deliveries and emergencies.
Quintain however does admit that many tenants will be “paying a premium for the lifestyle,” but it says 32% of the planned homes at Wembley Park will be affordable. This is a higher proportion than seen at many other London developments, and just below the 35% target set by the city’s mayor, Sadiq Khan - down from his election promise of 50%.
The borough, Brent, is one of London’s poorest but nearly 40% of the affordable Wembley Park homes will be let at a discount (in comparison to market rents), with the maximum rent set at 65% to 80% of market value. A further 28% will be at an affordable rent and 33% are earmarked for shared ownership and discount sales.
Brent supports the mayor in seeking a minimum of 35% affordable housing on all new developments. It delivered 30% in the three years to 2015-16, above the 24% London average, according to a council spokeswoman. “We expect to see Quintain construct 3,000 new homes by the end of the year. This can only help to tackle the dire housing situation in London,” she said.

London Property Hotspots

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Published: 06/02/2018   Last Updated: 06/02/2018 12:03:54   Tags: London, Property, Investment, City Living London

The city of London is now offering new opportunities when it comes to house buying, with almost 65,000 affordable new homes planned to be built in the capital per year.
Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, has a draft London Plan, which means that the London property map will be significantly changed. Due to high prices in parts of central and inner London, young buyers have had to look at other areas if they want to invest in property.
Parts of London that would not normally be top of a property shopping list are being revitalised with a series of regeneration projects and transportation upgrades, which is creating brand new hotspots and opportunities that are hard to ignore. The Mayor’s plan has set out targets for each borough in the city as well as identifying ‘Opportunity Areas’ in which large amounts of investment are being directed. These ‘Opportunity Areas’ are priority zones where development and regeneration are to be progressed.
There are as many as 30 areas designated for this attention, and the process has already begun in Stratford and Nine Elms. It now seems that Charlton Riverside, Colindale, Cricklewood, Harrow, Kensal Canalside, Catford, New Cross, Ilford, Southall, Park Royal, Woolwich, Thamesmead and Abbey Wood are next in line for a period of regeneration.
Buying a property in London has never been easy, but moving away from the typically popular areas to these up and coming hotspots could prove to be a profitable investment.

Rental price growth ‘expected to accelerate this year’

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Published: 16/01/2018   Last Updated: 16/01/2018 09:58:45   Tags: Rent, Lettings, London, Property

The average rental values for existing homes in Prime Central London have been falling for more than two years due to rising supply but the pattern is now due to reverse. There was a large spike in new lettings properties in the middle of 2017, which followed the introduction of the additional rate of stamp duty in April 2016, one of the reasons behind the increase. The other key factor has been a growing number of ‘accidental landlords’, a group of would-be vendors who are waiting for more pricing certainty before they return to the sales market.
The rate of new lettings properties coming onto the market has slowed. In 2017, November was the first month to reflect a decline in the number of new lettings properties placed on the market, with a fall in instructions of 1.2%. There was also greater demand than in 2016. Both factors combined will strengthen rental value growth. From January to November 2017 there was a 19% rise in viewings in comparison to 2016. The number of tenancies agreed also rose by 14% over the same period, whilst on average 17% more new potential tenants registered with PCL agents.
In a world of low returns, the Prime Central London lettings market became a comparatively more attractive asset class in 2017 from an investors view. Currently, the average gross yield in prime central London is 3.2%, higher than the risk-free rate of a 10-year UK government bond, which was yielding approximately 1.2% in mid December. The stretch between the two is high by historic standards; this trend is likely to continue with bottoming out sales values which will boost total returns. There is no immediate likelihood of a rate rise, despite the fact that UK inflation rose to 3.1% in December. Subject to the usual requirements, the Bank of England expects the base rate to be 1% in 2020, which is still low by historical standards.

Finding Student Accommodation

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Published: 13/07/2017   Last Updated: 13/07/2017 16:36:40   Tags: Student, London, University, City Living London

Going to university can be a stressful time without the added confusion of having to sort out your living arrangements. Choosing your accommodation will be one of the most important decisions you’ll make before you start your course. Whether it’s university-managed halls, a student development, private accommodation or staying at home; there really are an abundance of choices available. Here at City Living London, we provide affordable private accommodation that is fully managed in house.

For years private renting has been the most popular form of student accommodation, allowing you to live independently, without supervision, for the first time. Living in private accommodation also benefits you for the future, giving you key experience of renting and buying in the UK. It gives valuable real life experience with budgeting, contractual and practical responsibilities, and in learning how to manage your own space.

Whether you’re new to London and living independently, or a mature student with a clear idea of what you want, private rental may be best for you. We currently have an extensive list of available student properties, and with summer drawing closer there will be a rush to rent the biggest and best accommodation over the coming weeks.  To avoid disappointment we advise securing your accommodation as early as possible.

City Living London currently manages over 360 properties across London, in areas such as Kensington, Bayswater, Marylebone, Notting Hill, Victoria, Pimlico, Earls Court, Paddington, Kilburn and Maida Vale. If you are looking for accommodation in these areas, contact us now on 0207 351 6100 and speak to one of our team to arrange a viewing.

Have a stress free holiday with these useful home tips from City Living London!

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Published: 13/06/2017   Last Updated: 13/06/2017 12:16:12   Tags: City Living London, Summer, London, Rental, Holiday

This summer many of you will be thinking of jetting away for a period of stress free fun, so we have created a list of top tips for while you are away and to prevent you coming back to something unexpected!
 
1. First of all, please drop us an email at info@citylivinglondon.co.uk if you are away on a summer vacation for longer than 2 weeks. Please confirm that you are happy for us to access in the event of an emergency or maintenance issue, so we don't need to bother you.
 
2. Contact Royal Mail to let them know you will not be at your property for a while and they will retain your mail during the period of your vacation.
 
3. Try cleaning your fridge and even defrosting your freezer before you go on holiday. This will prevent you from coming back to any rotting food or bad smells in your property. By turning your fridge and freezer off you could also save money, but do remember to put some towels below the freezer to soak up any water, and leave the door ajar to prevent the fridge/freezer smelling.
 
4. It might seem obvious but do empty your rubbish bins the day you leave to avoid attracting unwanted pests.
 
5. Turn off the heating, where possible, and switch off any other items to ensure you don’t return to unnecessary energy bills.
 
6. If you have any indoor plants, depending on the duration of your trip ensure you have watered them before you leave, you do not want to return to wilted or even dead plants!

7. Do not leave any spare keys under your mats or in any of the communal areas for security reasons. If you plan to leave a spare set with a friend or family member during your holiday please let us know their name and contact details.
 
8. Most importantly make sure all your windows and doors are closed and locked before you leave, including double locking your front door.

For those of you who do plan to go away we hope you have a wonderful break. And for those of you who plan to stay in London – enjoy your summer!

Easter Fun in London

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Published: 13/04/2017   Last Updated: 13/04/2017 12:02:04   Tags: Easter, London, City Living London

Easter is approaching and we know that planning how to spend your long weekend can be tricky. The excuse to gorge on chocolate is not the only reason for excitement, there are also many events happening around London. Easter Sunday falls on 16th April 2017 however there is plenty of impressive stuff happening on Good Friday (14th April) and all throughout the weekend in London!
There will be an open air event taking place in Trafalgar Square on Good Friday providing an atmospheric backdrop for ‘The Passion of Jesus’ – the story of his last days on earth. There will be two shows on the day with up to 10,000 people expected to attend each show. The play will be shown on big screens and is absolutely free to watch.
If you are looking to spend the Easter weekend with family, why not visit the Adventures in Moominland at the Southbank Centre, which takes you on a journey to discover the world of Tove Jansson’s iconic characters. This very popular exhibition forms part of the year-long Nordic Matters Festival where you can explore all things Scandinavian in the Centre after the tour. Tickets are priced from £12, open Friday to Monday.
If you’re around Greenwich, keep an eye out for some unusual boats on the river as the Tall Ship Festival is back. For a small cost, some of the larger ships can be visited. The event will be taking place between the 14th and the 17th of April.
Those celebrating Easter in the east should head to Stratford East Village by the Olympic Park on Saturday 15th April, where a family-friendly Alice in Wonderland themed egg hunt around the former Athletes Village will take place.
Lastly, if all you want this weekend is to party, why not join the Easter Carnival at the Magic Roundabout. Here you will find DJs, dancers, contortionists, mimes, magicians and sketch artists doing their thing right above Old Street station.
So whether you want to go egg hunting, hit one of the bank holiday parties or indulge in a complete chocolate overload, we’ve got it covered!

London rents fall for first time in six years

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Published: 01/09/2016   Last Updated: 01/09/2016 11:01:14   Tags: London, City Living London, Rent

According to research by Countrywide, rents in London have fallen annually for the first time in nearly six years. With average monthly rents at an eye-watering £1280, this adjustment has resulted prices for new lets dropping by an average of £7 per month, in comparison to the same time a year ago. The last time rents fell in the capital was in November 2010, when the average monthly rent in London was a comparatively cheap £923 per month.

The housing market earlier this year saw a number of landlords rushing to push through their purchases as a result of the 3% stamp duty hike levied on buy-to-let properties, which came into force on April 1st. The majority of these properties are likely now on the rental market, which improves the choice for tenants and should result in further depression of London rents, particularly in Prime areas where transactions are comparatively low.

Last year in July in the whole of the UK, 16% of tenants paid over the asking rent to secure a tenancy on a home compared to 7% in July 2016. The falling rental figures were much more significant in London in comparison, with only 11% of homes letting for more than the asking price in July 2016, a drop from 32% in July 2015.

At City Living London we have always sought to price our properties competitively with a view to finding long term, happy tenants. Our average monthly rental is below the London average, at £1147.50, and our tenant fees are similarly competitive at £270.00. If you move again through us, these fees are discounted by 50%, meaning our fees for return tenants are some of the most affordable in London.

Although rental price growth has slowed, current market dynamics are likely to accelerate the growth of renting, suggests Countrywide. With more stock and higher levels of demand, the increasing number of rented households looks set to continue to increase in 2016.

What’s on in London this Spring?

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Published: 24/05/2016   Last Updated: 24/05/2016 10:26:43   Tags: London, Spring

This month is filled with plenty of festivals and events. With the Spring Bank Holiday weekend approaching on the 30th of May, why not visit The Chelsea Flower Show, one of the greatest flower shows in the world? The show has become the go-to venue for scouting up-and-coming gardening trends with new plants launched and the popularity of older varieties revived. Each year the show has over 150,000 visitors and tickets sell out quickly, so be quick to grab yours to avoid disappointment.  http://bit.ly/1yRQmz1  

From May until July, join the fun-packed Udderbelly Festival where the giant inflatable upside-down cow returns with a season of live comedy, circus, music and family shows on the banks of the River Thames. This is a great festival for you and a group of friends and family. http://bit.ly/1hjR517  

Last but not least, with Father’s Day approaching next month on the 19th June 2016, don’t forget to get your loved one a card! It can be difficult in deciding what gift to buy, so why not check out some great personal gift ideas which cannot be found on the high street http://bit.ly/1WrLalf  

The London’s Lettings Market

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Published: 24/05/2016   Last Updated: 24/05/2016 10:18:55   Tags: London, Lettings Market, City Living London, Rent, Property

Lonres is an agent-only website which collates and analyzes data on the Central London property market based on the feedback and information provided by its subscribers. According to their most recent quarterly newsletter, the London’s lettings market has been quieter than expected over the last three months. In the first quarter of 2016, the number of the tenancies agreed in Prime Central London fell by 18% compared to same time last year, whilst the rest of London and its surrounding areas have also shown a decrease in new lets agreed. An increase in renewals is contributing to this decrease in the number of new tenancies agreed which is most likely down to the political uncertainty caused by the EU referendum, due in June, and the subsequent possible unravelling of the market following a Leave vote (please refer to our EU referendum blog)., Agents have seen a significant drop in the number of new applicants and viewings, particularly on the corporate relocation front whilst The City awaits the results of the referendum. Properties at the upper end of the lettings market have attracted fewer applicants and viewings. However, on a positive note properties under £750 per week have shown an increase in demand, with one and two bedroom properties having performed strongly.

More generally, the lowered levels of activity reflect the amount of competing supply across the Prime London market, suggested by the level of investment buying activity seen in new build sectors and second homes. In the first two months of 2016, the number of mortgages completed for buy to let purchases was 26% higher than the same two months of 2015. The majority of the buying activity was concentrated in the market between £500k and £1m. This suggests better rental performance of these properties and higher income yield returns available.

Going forward, the outlook for rental growth over 2016 remains unknown and restrained due to the uncertainty caused by the EU referendum.  It is becoming difficult to predict how the market will progress over the rest of the year, however a recent survey by Lonres suggests that 29% of agents believe there will be a rise in achieved rents by the end of 2016, with only 3% expecting rents to increase 5% or more.  

Our founder Jack Petchey: He Replaced His Rags with Riches

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Published: 15/03/2016   Last Updated: 15/03/2016 13:49:13   Tags: Jack Petchey, London

He was born in July, 1925 on the East End of London. He was the offspring of a poor working class family who had barely enough food to keep alive. Jack never let his adverse circumstances stop him from dreaming and fulfilling his vision to make a better life for himself. Turning13 Jack lost interest in school and quit; he had absolutely no prospects before him.
Along comes 1943 and the Second World War with Jack enlisting in the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm. He unsuccessfully applied for officer training. He served his stint in the Navy and he was discharged honourably. He joined the Solicitor’s Law Stationery Society as a clerk. He had a strong desire to be successful and applied for a management position. Surprisingly, he was turned down and told he would never make it as a businessman (I’m sure the person who made that assessment has regretted it for the rest of their life.) 
Jack was undeterred so he took his 39pounds from the Navy and invested. He bought his first second hand automobile and started his business empire. He ran a taxi and he worked hard and long. His tenacity richly paid off. He became a multi-millionaire through his motor car dealings, garages, property, travel and investments. He never gave up on his dream and he made it big.
His example is an inspiration because no matter what circumstances we are born into we can improve ourselves and turn our lives around.   We can live very successful and productive lives like Jack. Jack has started many enterprises from businesses, foundations to partnership programs. Jack is 90 years old and going strong as he is still working. He has no plans to retire in the near future. He is going to marry his long-term sweetheart of 26 years. 66-year-old sculpture artist, Frances Segelman.
Jack has become quite a philanthropist donating 66 million pounds over the years. He has helped thousands upon thousands of young people achieve their dreams and he has given them better lives. Some of his programs include “Speak out Challenge” which operates in almost every single secondary school in Essex and London. He trains nearly 17,000 young people a year. His other program “Step into Dance” helps students learn dance in about 200 schools. He also gives out 12,000 achievements annually for “trying your best.”
Jack Petchey studied Andrew Carnegie’s course on positive thinking and it changed his life forever. He was so inspired by the course he has taught it to others. His life motto is: “Success is out there if you want it.” This has been his driving motive to reaching out helping all the young people he has. Jack has modelled this philosophy all his life and he has found plenty of success in all his ventures over the years. He has richly practiced what he has lived for years. You can do it if you try and you can’t let any setbacks stop you from achieving your dreams. Surely Jack didn’t let any obstacles stop him from reaching his king-sized dreams. 

Best Places to Rent for Access to Central London

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Published: 04/02/2016   Last Updated: 04/02/2016 11:00:22   Tags: Vauxhall, City Living London News, London

Are you looking for excellent transport links to central London? Think you can’t afford it? Then think again because there are some great value rental opportunities that offer great city living, just a stone’s throw from the excitement of central London. Here are our top picks for great value places to live that London letting agents are talking about.
Chelsea
OK, so Chelsea isn’t cheap, but when it comes to renting, it’s not as expensive as you might think. With its upmarket vibe, Chelsea is smart and sophisticated but relaxed enough to attract the younger crowd. With great shopping in Sloane Square and on the King’s Road, ample traditional pubs and high-end bars, Chelsea has it all. A short walk to South Kensington and Knightsbridge, Chelsea is supremely well connected and is just a few stops on the tube line from the epicentere of London. Beautiful Georgian and Victorian architecture lies either side of the King’s Road and up towards Fulham Road. Get in touch with local London letting agents and you’ll see there are plenty of long and short term rental opportunities, ranging from large townhouses to compact flats.
Fulham
Renting in Fulham offers easy access to the delights of South Kensington and Chelsea but with a lower price tag and a more homely, younger feel. With a great range of eateries and night spots, it is lively, bustling and a favourite for young professionals. It offers easy access to central London via tube and bus and is a favourite with young professionals looking for a touch of West London elegance without breaking the bank. Handsome Georgian terraces are the norm in Fulham, even if some have seen better days.Adjoining Parsons Green offers affordable options too. Contact your London lettings agent for more information.
Vauxhall
As London letting agents, we love an up and coming area and Vauxhall fits the bill perfectly. Vauxhall has superb transport links straight to the heart of central London. One of the places to be over the coming years, Vauxhall is seeing a resurgence as people look for affordable areas that are close to the heart of the city. New bars, clubs and restaurants are popping up and yet Vauxhall retains a slightly gritty edge, which has its attractions. Chic apartments and a stunning riverside location are amongst the delights of this latest London hotspot. Vauxhall really is tuning into a beautiful area –just ask your London lettings agent about the Riverlight development as proof. It’s a sleek new apartment complex and indicative of what Vauxhall is becoming.
Photo by Davide D'Amico

How London's property market is unique

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Published: 29/01/2016   Last Updated: 04/02/2016 11:01:22   Tags: London, Property Market

London is a decidedly quirky property market, and the conditions in the capital are possibly the most unique in the world. The huge city has always drawn people from across the globe, putting pressure on housing stocks as the population grows. Letting agents have never been short of tenants, and house sellers rarely wait long for buyers. But there are other forces besides population expansion at work. In recent years the trend towards a high rate of savings in Asia and a shortage of high interest investment vehicles has meant London's property market, which is usually on an upwards trend, has been seen as an attractive investment for people and wealth funds around the world.

Part of the effect of this trend is that money coming in from the top ultimately drives up the price of property at the lower value end of the ladder. It works like this: wealthy overseas investors looking to park up to £10 million in a safe property purchase will comfortably be able to pay £8 million for a property. This means that wealthy investors with a budget of up to £8 million are then priced out of such properties but they can then make higher offers on properties offered in the region of £7m. This effect continues down the ladder of value, affecting all properties in the market as a combination of housing shortfalls and wealthy buyers drive up prices at all levels. However, this effect could be slowing down: the strengthened pound means that property here is more expensive for investors from countries such as Malaysia and India, reducing the pool of overseas investors to some extent.

The lack of available space in an already crowded city means that there are very few options for building new developments. And because the south-east area is highly developed, it's difficult to add new infrastructure such as new railway lines and roads that might open up new areas of land outside the capital for development.

There are other major cities around the world that have experienced similar conditions, but there are some elements of the London property market that are unique. Estate agents such as Savills report that there is a phenomenon for international buyers to snap up the majority of new build properties, often before they are even built. Political turmoil overseas often has a surprising effect on the capital's housing market. Uncertainty in Pakistan is thought to have led to a boom in property purchases in west London, as the Pakistani community invest in the area of Southall. Photo by Murad Hassan

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