Vauxhall Cross, Nine Elms & Battersea
2018

2018 opened on two downbeat notes.

First, President Trump refused to visit Nine Elms to open the new US Embassy. He claimed that this was because he disapproved of the decision to sell the lease on the embassy in Grosvenor Square and build the new mission in an "off location".

Second, the high end property market was reported to be having problems. The Guardian, reporting property data experts Molior London, said that

'More than half of the 1,900 ultra-luxury apartments built in London last year failed to sell, raising fears that the capital will be left with dozens of "posh ghost towers". The swanky flats, complete with private gyms, swimming pools and cinema rooms, are lying empty ... The total number of unsold luxury new-build homes, which are rarely advertised at less than £1m, has now hit a record high of 3,000 units, as the rich overseas investors they were built for turn their backs on the UK due to Brexit uncertainty and the hike in stamp duty on second homes. ...

Henry Pryor, a property buying agent, says the London luxury new-build market is "already overstuffed but we're just building more of them. We're going to have loads of empty and part-built posh ghost towers," he says. "They were built as gambling chips for rich overseas investors, but they are no longer interested in the London casino and have moved on. ...

Steven Herd, founder and chief executive of MyLondonHome, an agency that specialises in new-build homes for investment, says his firm is struggling under the weight of overseas investors who bought in the last couple of years and are desperate to sell. He says hundreds of Asian investors who had bought London developments off-plan in 2015-16 in the hope of making a quick profit by selling apartments on closer to completion have instead lost hundreds of thousands of pounds. “They intended to flip [buy and sell on] the apartments and make big profits, but it hasn’t worked out like that, and now they are trying to get out at the smallest possible loss.” ... Herd says the Nine Elms development, near the new US embassy in south London, was one of the best redevelopment schemes in Europe but consisted of “the wrong properties that Londoners don’t need”.

 

Martin Stanley