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Rising property prices one of many benefits stemming from Crossrail

by admin

Work on the multi-million pound Crossrail is underway, with completion currently scheduled for 2018. Crossrail is set to link Maidenhead and Heathrow with Shenfield and Abbey Wood, passing through Ealing and central London, and is expected to bring with it a huge range of benefits. This includes a boost for the property market in and around London as well as wider economic benefits.

Real estate agents are predicting a significant boost in the value of properties along the new Crossrail route, with some London estate agents expecting increases of around 10 percent as a result of the new service, whilst others predict increases of up to 25 percent. Once Crossrail has been completed and is fully functional, many homeowners with properties along the route will see their property values soar. This is due to rising demand from the likes of traders, financial workers, and others who want to benefit from convenient access to central London.

Another major benefit that is expected to stem from Crossrail is increased foreign investment. This could include more foreign businesses moving into the area as well as increased property investment, both commercial and residential. Officials believe that Crossrail will play a big part in the level of foreign investment in and around London in years to come, and the service has been described as being a key part of London’s plans when it comes to growth and expansion.

Some of the wider benefits that could affect property prices

It is thought that in central parts of London, the service could see up to two dozen trains an hour in operation at peak times, each of which boasts the capacity to hold 1500 passengers. This will relieve a huge amount of pressure on London’s roads, as it will help to ease congestion considerably, which could also have a knock on effect on the property market both in terms of demand and values.

Crossrail is also likely to bring many more jobs into the area, partly due to new businesses and investments, and this could boost property demand further. A report carried out late last year on behalf of Crossrail indicated that there were plans to build many new homes and commercial premises close to the new stations. Eight of which are set to be built in central London and Docklands.

The Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce said that the service would have far reaching positive effects for London and some of the surrounding areas, not only in terms of property values and increased business investment but also in terms of regeneration, employment, and improvements to the local economy.


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The Ghost Streets of London Town

by Sarah Halloran

Halloween is the time for tales of ghosts, ghouls and things that go bump in the night.  Everybody loves a terrifying yarn about a haunted house and ghastly goings-on, but have you heard the one about the ghost streets of London?  There’s a problem in London being created entirely by its own success as a global capital city and it’s got nothing to do with paranormal activity.

Many northern and central prime properties are standing empty right now and continue to do so for months on end creating what could be seen as billion pound ghost streets that are lined with second and even third homes of the world’s super-wealthy country-hopping elite from Dubai, Hong Kong, Russia, Bahrain, Russia, and Singapore.

Many estate agents say that up to 70% of property sales in central London have been because of foreigners buying second homes.  That’s an astonishing figure and is a result of the favourable exchange rate and London’s popularity with the super-rich.

But in spite of these properties rarely playing house to their registered residents, the streets on which they are situated still tend to look busy, but how?

The simple answer is that the rich owners of these London properties turn to others to keep their homes running either by employing staff or hiring professional house sitters.

An extreme example of this is a large house in North London that is owned by the ruling family in Bahrain.  The house features 10 bedrooms and is located in a very salubrious district.  The family use it as their London address “should things get sticky back home” apparently.  Every morning the team of staff looking after this house clean and air the house, turn over the limo engine and retire back to the kitchen or elsewhere in the home to take care of things.

These second homes are a distinct contrast to the other side of the property market where first-time buyers and homeowners are struggling to manage one home let alone two.  Prime property like this is an investment however so it’s easy to see why the owners want to keep and nurture their homes even if they don’t live there.

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Ed Mead is carrying the Olympic torch (not literally)

by Ed Mead

For many who spent the tail end of last year trying to predict this year it must have seemed a doddle compared to forecasting now. Suddenly the press, and even me, are beginning to sense that although the year may be a dreadful dirge, it does look as if prices in London will end the year higher than they started. This is not saying a whole lot but from where I’m sitting there are occasional deals being done that simply beggar belief, whereas if you wander out of London, particularly in a Northerly direction, the stories are of a very different nature as the press are keen to let us know.2012 Olympics may boost small rentals in London

Sadly all commentators agree that volumes will be a victim this year, and many fear this malaise will continue into next year which is depressing. But hang on a minute next year is Olympic year isn’t it?  We’re all supposed to feel good about that, and I’ve even registered for tickets as any self respecting Londoner should, but will it be enough to dispel the fog.

One thing everyone forecast, and the auspices loom good, is that rental numbers will increase in London next year because of the 2012 Olympics being here. With perhaps the worst area for sales currently being small flats, no demand from first time buyers still, it’s very likely, and beginning to be the case, that buy to let investors are beginning to lick their lips and dive in.  I sat in a meeting with some heavyweight agents yesterday and all the ones I spoke to said if they had money they’d be buying investment property now.  The fact that they can’t shows the general level of nervousness and lack of income in the estate agency game at the moment, but perhaps whilst many top end agents gloat about how many £5m plus properties are selling those who deal at the bottom end might just be about to get their own timely boost.

Ed Mead is a regular contributor to The Big Property List blog.  An Estate Agent for over 30 years, he has been writing and commentating on the market for over half of that as the Sunday Times Property Expert and The Agent Provocateur for the Telegraph.  He sits on the Board of The Property Ombudsman Ltd, has a regular LBC slot, and is happy to say it as it is.

Other places you can find him online are the Douglas & Gordon blog and Twitter

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House Prices: London may continue to confound

by Ed Mead

For years it’s been said that what starts in London spreads out to the rest of the country.  Whether that’s been true in the past or not those of us who live in London recognize now perhaps that there’s a disconnect between us and the rest. Resentment outside the Capital towards those of us that live and work here has always been rife, but having been convinced we were all in this together I’m beginning to think that the London housing market might just be different, and lucky, enough to avoid some of the larger slowdowns affecting those living elsewhere.

Tower Bridge & Skyline - London, England

Photo by Diliff

The first thing that needs to be defined though is what constitutes a slowdown. It’s been increasingly easy over the last few years to be smug about London property and it’s been the smiles on faces of these London homeowners that have perhaps been in the crosshairs of those looking to have a pop at us. We’ve been lucky in Great Britain, a quirk of geographical fate has determined that not only are we an island but also on the Greenwich Meridian. This means, and has done for centuries, that we’ve been politically and economically stable, and has meant that whichever part of the world is doing well, and there’s usually at least one, those who’ve benefited financially tend to want to have a place somewhere in London. Over the last few years pretty much everyone has hence why values have gone beserk.

But a slow down, or a poor market, can de defined in two ways: prices and sales volumes. What has perhaps surprised many is the resilience of Greater London in the maintenance of those prices, but what’s bad for the economy as a whole is what’s maintaining those prices, low volumes. And it’s going to get worse, or better, depending on how you look at it. Some agents are reporting record numbers of sellers withdrawing from the market. It’s tempting to ask why, the recently deserting foreigners, having taken advantage over the last three years of a weak Pound, now appear to be coming back because they fear for the future of their currency and are wanting to buy whilst their exchange rate remains relatively, for them, advantageous.

Those of us who work in London are more likely to earn relatively well, have deposits and thus access to historically low mortgages, so it’s likely demand will remain relatively strong. So why are sellers abandoning ship when more buyers are chasing their properties. Taking off the market for Christmas always was a waste of time, and at the moment there’s an odd feel that’s unlikely to be as positive at the beginning of next year when perhaps more sellers will come to the market.

So, if you’re the kind of person who watches prices, London may well continue to confound. As someone who recognizes the importance of volumes to the wider economy I fear that this market is disappearing up it’s own b***side.


Ed Mead is a regular contributor to The Big Property List blog.  He has been an estate agent for over 30 years, and has been writing and commentating on the market for over half of that as the Sunday Times Property Expert and The Agent Provocateur for the Telegraph.  He sits on the Board of The Property Ombudsman Ltd, has a regular LBC slot, and is happy to say it as it is.

Other places you can find Ed online are:
Douglas & Gordon blog
Ed Mead on Twitter


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Ban Estate Agents boards in central London? Inspired, says Ed Mead

by Ed Mead

If there’s one thing snow does it’s make London look clean.  Covers all sorts of grubbiness, is a great leveller and there’s nothing anybody can do to stop it.  You could probably say all that about the inspired decision by someone to finally ban Estate Agents boards across large swathes of central London.

Estate agents For Sale signs in London

photo by Paul Mison

When I started in this business you couldn’t go into certain streets, like Ifield Road next to Chelsea’s football ground, without being blown away by the sheer number of agent’s boards.  As an example, boards in that street were a major blight and no one wanted to live there, hence more tried to sell, hence more boards and so on.  Some bright spark in the late 80s finally banned them in Conservation areas but left other big chunks of Victorian and Edwardian homes open to infection and abuse.  Early this year ironically someone somewhere missed a deadline to renew the Conservation area regulations and for a ghastly moment boards were allowed anywhere.  Luckily only the usual blaggers decided to risk the wrath of residents and erect signage in streets that had hitherto enjoyed decades of delicious virginity.

The venom with which said residents responded, and this is typical of the general behaviour of aforementioned blagging estate agents – they simply don’t give a sh*t, meant that the authorities actually decided not only to put things back as they were pre balls up, but to actually extend the ban throughout most of central London.

The result is likely to mean hordes of Japanese tourists can now take shots of our beautiful central London houses without their rellies back home wondering who the hell ***t*** or ****d are.  It means that local residents have their streets back and are no longer as likely to be conned by the local agent who worries less about which local residents they piss off and more about putting up as many boards up as possible.

The ban IS policed which is good and it would be reassuring to think that this is a precursor of a wider decision to do away with them altogether.

In the meantime get out and enjoy unsullied streets for the first time in a generation and don’t be afraid to report the minority of agents who’ll continue to flout the new regulations.  Feel like the school sneak there a bit, but actually the idea of sellers being persuaded that the placement of a few £6 boards denotes heavy market presence has, for years, allowed the real fringe of our industry to get a foothold, and this might just mean they’re walking on ice for a change.

Author Biography

Ed Mead is a regular contributor to The Big Property List blog.  He has been an estate agent for over 30 years, and has been writing and commentating on the market for over half of that as the Sunday Times Property Expert and The Agent Provocateur for the Telegraph.  He sits on the Board of The Property Ombudsman Ltd, has a regular LBC slot, and is happy to say it as it is.

Other places you can find Ed online are:
Douglas & Gordon blog
Ed Mead on Twitter


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Peek inside London’s most Sustainable Homes

by admin

If you’re interested in Sutainable Housing, architecture or design then you’ll be very interested in Open House London this Autumn when 700 houses in London will be open to the public.

The event is organised by the architecture organisation Open City and takes place over the weekend of 18-19 September 2010.

bt tower open house londonThe initiative is a simple but powerful concept: hundreds of great buildings of all types and periods open up their doors to all, completely for FREE.  It is a truly city-wide celebration of the buildings, places and neighbourhoods where we live, work and play, and is your opportunity to get out and get under the skin of London’s amazing architecture’ says the Open House website.

The ‘open houses’ range from small private home to major lndmarks such as the BT Tower and there will be lots of events such as cycle tours, architects talks and neighbourhood walks to interest and inspire you over the weekend.

Here at The Big Property List we’re particularly interested in the Sustainable Housing element and there should be plenty of eco-homes on show boasting sustainable designs such as The Coach House, 39 Parkholme Road, Retro-eco House and Zero Carbon Loft.

If you’re visiting any of these sustainable houses over the course of the weekend, why not email your pictures and notes to admin (at) and we’ll publish them here on our blog?

For the full list of open houses you can visit the Open House website or order a guide to see what is available near you – some venues need to be booked in advance.

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