Westminster residential properties are reaching new heights of luxury
New residential projects are making London's most prestigious borough even more appealing to overseas buyers.
London has remained a firm favorite of Hong Kong property buyers all through the UK's difficult financial year, with the struggling pound offering substantial discounts to overseas investors.
This interest is partly because of the housing bargains springing up in newly regenerated areas of the British capital, such as Nine Elms and Canary Wharf. However, it's London's famous central boroughs that offer the greatest returns for serious investors, with house prices set to surge over the next few years.
Westminster is one such prime location. One of London's most historic and well-connected boroughs, house prices in SW1 are expected to rise by 31.9 percent by 2021 according to Barclays research, making Westminster one of the UK's fastest growing areas.
With Westminster real estate already commanding some of the highest prices in London, this increase represents significant profit margins for buy-to-sell investors.
Royal living style
For many overseas visitors, the City of Westminster is London. Covering 8.21 square miles (21.3 square kilometres) in the very heart of the capital, the borough is home to some of the UK's most recognizable landmarks, including the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, 10 Downing Street and Westminster Cathedral.
Apart from those distinguished attractions, Westminster also houses some of the world's foremost arts and performance venues, including Somerset House and Royal Albert Hall, while vintage boutiques along Carnaby Street still evoke the spirit of the Swinging Sixties.
Living in Westminster also puts nature on your doorstep, with prime access to four of the Royal Parks – Green Park, Hyde Park, St James's Park and Kensington Gardens – as well as London Zoo. The borough is the best connected in London, with 27 Underground stations serving 10 of the 11 Tube lines and the new Crossrail scheduled to open in 2018, as well as plentiful taxis, buses and trams.
A number of new developments are currently underway which will enhance Westminster's appeal even further for high-end buyers and residents. One of the most ambitious is The Broadway – property company Northacre's conversion of the former New Scotland Yard building into private luxury apartments. It offers central London living with spectacular views over the iconic sights, and will be fronted by a new public square complete with gardens, restaurants and shops.
An SW1 address doesn't come cheap, but there are perks to the prestigious postcode. Westminster residents pay one of the lowest council tax rates in the country, ranging from £458.76 (HK$4,661.60) to £1,376.28 (HK$13,984.79) in the financial year 2017/18.
Westminster's abundant greenery also helps drive up sale prices. Research from JLL UK found that homes located close to parkland are more valuable than those further away – good news for Westminster, which has 24 percent parks and green spaces.
JLL UK Residential Research Director, Nick Whitten, explains: “There have been numerous global studies that have demonstrated that homes located within close proximity of a park will typically command a higher value. This premium is clearly highlighted by JLL's research maps which show homes located close to London's largest parks typically have higher average prices than homes located further away.”
“However, there is a wide range in these green-space premiums from around three percent up to 20 percent. The precise value of the uplift will depend on a number of factors including exactly how close the property is to the park, the size and quality of the park itself and the facilities it contains.”