What is the City Fringe and why is it an important property market?
Keatons Lettings Manager, Chris Whitfield, talks about the positive impact regeneration schemes such as the 2012 Olympics have had on the City of London and discusses why it is the place to live, work and socialise in.
The neighbourhoods that surround the City of London are economically wealthy and socially diverse. In recent years they have benefited from public and private investment and are now considered exemplars for urban regeneration.
Historically, the City Fringe was considered to be the areas east and north of the financial district of the Square Mile but due to development and regeneration, they now encompass areas such as Hackney, Haggerston, Whitechapel and as far as the Docklands.
Chris Whitfield, Lettings Manager at Keatons, said: “They are now of considerable importance to the London economy, being a location for major office uses, creative, cultural and tourism activity, and major public sector uses such as the London Metropolitan University and the Royal London Hospital.
“The property market from Whitechapel, Shoreditch, Bethnal Green and Clerkenwell have been growing in popularity since the mid-90s with momentum increasing with the success of the Olympics bid in Stratford.
“Transport links have improved massively, making it far easier for anyone travelling into Central London. Docklands Light Railway, London Overground’s new lines, new Underground stations and now new cycle routes, night Tubes and the Crossrail have made Central London the place to live, work and socialise in.”
A key element of the change to the area has been the regeneration of Old Street. The government coined the name ‘Tech City’ for the area in 2010 and offered tax breaks for start-up IT businesses. Since that time, Tech City has become globally renowned and viewed as a major driver for London being at the heart of the European technology sector.
Quite literally at the centre of the ‘Tech City’ area is the Old Street roundabout, now famed as ‘Silicon Roundabout’. Old Street station which lies beneath it serves more than 21m passengers a year, as the technology firms in the area have grown to employ thousands in the area and draw more people to the City Fringe.
Agents Hurford Salvi Carr have acted as property advisors and development consultants in the City Fringe area since 1996 and have witnessed its growth and development first hand. In its most recent research on the area, the agency is forecasting strong growth.
Paul Driscoll, a Director of Hurford Salvi Carr, said: “The first half of 2015 played out very differently in our markets than it did in the western reaches of the Capital. In midtown, (the area of London spanning from the City to the West End), City and Docklands, the market slowed in the first quarter but at no point did it stall.
“In fact, buyers and sellers in our markets absorbed the new pricing levels set in 2014 and, after a slow end to 2014, all parties have been ready and willing to act this year, albeit with an awareness of the new stamp duty threshold and some caution in the run up to the election.
“The confidence that followed the election result brought an acceptance of the pricing levels set in 2014 and activity increased to heights not seen for almost a year. Contrary to most expectations at the end of 2014, the price of a one bed apartment in our markets continued to rise in the first six months of 2015, despite the prospect of a general election in May. Prices climbed by 3% in City and midtown and by 5% in Docklands in the first six months of 2015.
“Prices vary across the area. The price of a one bed apartment averaged across City, midtown and Docklands is now £540,000, having risen by 4% in H1 2015. There is a significant differential between our markets with midtown commanding £640,000 for a one bed compared with £440,000 in Docklands*.”
Chris Whitfield from Keatons said: “It is an exciting and stimulating place to live and work, boasting an incredibly diverse range of properties from the quirky warehouses of Shoreditch, the period properties of Bow, Mile End and Hackney and the new luxury developments of Canary Wharf and Stratford.”
*All research courtesy of Hurford Salvi Carr
See a selection of properties from Keatons and Hurford Salvi Carr below