This prosperous part of North West London, in the City of Westminster, only a 15 minute walk from Baker Street and London’s West End, features a high proportion of independent retailers and offers easy access to the open green spaces of Primrose Hill and Regent’s Park. It is also the location of the famous Lord’s Cricket ground and Abbey Road Studios, where The Beatles recorded their Abbey Road album.
St John’s Wood estate agents report that property prices in and around St John’s Wood have continued to soar, despite the global economic uncertainty, eurozone woes, and the recent hike in stamp duty at the upper end of the market to seven per cent.
Liam Bailey, head of residential research at Knight Frank, commented: “Early indications of the impact of the recent changes to stamp duty are that the market is so far proving resilient.”
According to a new Knight Frank survey, home values in prime areas such as the Borough of Westminster, increased by 1.1 per cent in April and are now 11.4 per cent higher compared to the corresponding month last year.
Andrew Ellinas, director at Sandfords Central London estate agents, said: “In 2011, Westminster and Camden together accounted for more £1 million plus properties than Kensington and Chelsea – most of them in Sandfords’ domain of Marylebone, Regent’s Park and St John’s Wood.”
Demand for properties in St John’s Wood is being primarily fuelled by a growing influx of foreign purchasers taking advantage of a historically weak pound, which has actually reduced the cost of buying property in the UK for some foreign buyers, making central London a particularly sound property investment option.
“Many [overseas property buyers] are looking for a safe haven asset class to take their money away from the turbulence of the eurozone and the Arab Spring,” said Naomi Heaton, chief executive of London Central Portfolio.
As well as high demand from property buyers, there has also been a shift towards more people looking at property to rent in St John’s Wood as a preferred lifestyle choice; an attractive proposition for property investors.
Strong tenant demand is expected to push rents up by an average of five per cent in 2012, following an average gain of 12% in 2011, with further growth anticipated moving forward, according to property consultants Jones Lang LaSalle.
London’s population has grown every year since 1988, and it is likely that it will continue its steady growth over the next few years, further fuelling demand for rental accommodation in St John’s Wood and its surrounding areas, including Hampstead, according to various Hampstead estate agents.
“There are likely to be 150,000 more London households renting [by 2015] than before the financial crisis,” said Jones Lang LaSalle’s research director Jon Neale.