London 2012 has provided a non-stop promotional kaleidoscope of our world-class city. Property agents and developers should be celebrating how the Olympics Games have showcased all that is best about our capital.
The world has looked east to Stratford but it has also enjoyed a 360 degree aerial tour of central, south, west and north London and beyond, from the River Thames, Royal parks and Royal palaces to down on the street as the road races thundered through Putney and South-west London and out to the Surrey hills.
Brand London has been promoted as never before and we must wait and see if the international money that has poured into the capital’s property market over the past decade will enjoy a renewed impetus. Will global investors look with fresh eyes beyond prime property in the most fashionable postcodes, new developments in central London and along the Thames, and weigh up the potential of the regeneration of East London, including 8,000 new homes, as the primary legacy of London 2012? Other Olympics venues such as Wimbledon, Eton, and Lord’s cricket ground in St John’s Wood are already firmly on the international map but other areas such as Greenwich, Hampton Court, and, just outside London, the Surrey Hills enjoyed their moments in the sun, thanks to the gymnastics, basketball, equestrian and road cycling events. One of Hong Kong’s most influential investors has already pledged £300 million in funding for Greenwich Peninsula, the regeneration zone around the O2, rechristened the North Greenwich arena for the Games.
However, while Olympic records have been broken and GB’s haul of medals was the highest ever, performance in prime property in central London may have peaked. According to Knight Frank research, the central London property market retained its dominance in July, with a 0.5% increase in average prices taking the value of prime property to a new record high albeit the most modest increase since October 2010. The latest Savills research also underlines this slowdown, although international buyers in the prime postcodes have continued to view these areas as a safe haven for investment, away from the turbulence of the Eurozone. It is too early to know whether this is the traditional summer slowdown or signs of a deeper malaise.
As the last paralympians leave the Olympics Village and the £9 billion bill for the Olympics party thuds on the mat, the property market will be gearing up for the September selling season. Will the longest running advertising campaign for London bear global fruit for the property industry? Only time will tell.
Marion Hardman, Head of Property PR, Four Communications