Over 2019, industry headlines proclaimed the London property market was flat, but perhaps that should’ve read ‘The London Property Market was Flats’ as 93% of all new-build purchases in the capital were apartments and not houses.
Stone Real Estate analysed new build sales transaction records over the last year across London, looking at what proportion of sales was attributed to each property type.
The data shows that 93% of all transactions were listed as flats, with just 4% listed as terraced homes, 2% as semi-detached and a lowly 1% as detached properties.
When looking by borough, flats accounted for 100% of all new build transactions in boroughs starting with B – Barking and Dagenham, Barnet, Bexley, Brent and Bromley, no we’re not making that up.
Camden, the City of London, Westminster and Croydon also had 99% of all new build transactions attributed to the purchase of a flat.
So why are flats so popular in the new build sector?
Michael Stone of Stone Real Estate commented: “The flat is, of course, the most prominent type of new build property available in today’s market and this is for a number of reasons. First of all, space is scarce and so building up not only allows you to house more people on a plot, but it also means a better return for the housebuilder as they have more homes to sell. Price also dictates this trend to a large extent, with many buyers unable to afford a larger property, so the flat enables the delivery of a more affordable option to meet demand.
However, this popularity goes beyond supply and price point. Many new build developments are delivering a lifestyle in addition to bricks and mortar, incorporating features such as onsite amenities, private gyms, cinema rooms and rooftop social areas. All of these additional benefits resonate with today’s new-build London buyer, and this is helping to drive the popularity of these developments and the flat.”
But flat living isn’t for everyone, so where should you look if you want to buy new, but don’t want to live in a flat?
Terraced New Builds
Believe it or not, there is one borough where the flat isn’t the most popular new-build option. In Wandsworth, terraced new build properties accounted for 51% of transactions last year, making it the best borough for home buyers looking for a little newer build space.
Tower Hamlets (27%), Richmond (20%), Waltham Forest (20%), Sutton (18%), Redbridge (14%) and Merton (10%) also saw the number of new build transactions attributed to terraced housing hit 10% or above of all transactions, making them good options to look further afield than a flat.
As your search for more room expands, the chances of finding a new build in London start to diminish but hunt hard enough, and you will find your ideal new build property.
Waltham Forest saw a healthy 30% of all new-build sales last year fall under the semi-detached category, with Southwark (13%) and Sutton (10%) also ranked high when it came to semi-detached new build availability.
Perhaps the Holy Grail of the new build sector in London, finding a detached home will be a stretch given they only account for 1% of all new build transactions.
However, there is hope, and Southwark is your best bet when house hunting. Last year, detached homes accounted for 14% of all new build transactions, the highest of any London borough.
Lambeth (6%), Newham (5%) and Richmond (4%) also offered a new build detached offering to a degree, while detached homes accounted for 1% of transactions in Sutton, Redbridge, Hillingdon, Lewisham and Hammersmith and Fulham.
Stone added; “The beautiful thing about the London property market is the diverse offering of properties on offer, and while flats dominate the new build sector for the large part, there are still plenty of pockets where you can secure the quality and value for money of a new build home, but with a property size and style to suit you.”
Read more articles on the UK and International property markets in our dedicated section here.