West London prime property market out performs rest of sector in London

Residential property growth in the prime west London market is outperforming the rest of the sector in the city, new research shows.

The area starting in Hammersmith and heading west to Ealing saw average property values grow by 4.1% in the second quarter of 2015, leaving annual growth at 0.5% compared to the small falls seen in other prime London markets.

The value of properties priced over £2 million, the majority of which are concentrated in Hammersmith and Chiswick, fell 2.2% over the past year, the data from real estate firm Savills also shows.

At the top end of the market, buyer caution has been evident, the firm's report says, and the the price falls largely resulted from stamp duty changes announced in the 2014 Autumn Statement and uncertainty surrounding a mansion tax in the run up to the general election.

Stronger growth was recorded in the lower value markets, particularly in the £750,000 to £1 million market where buyers benefited modestly from the stamp duty reform. In the prime markets below £750,000 although price growth was positive, it was slower as new mortgage regulations limit the amount buyers can borrow.

Average values in Ealing are around 25% cheaper than Hammersmith and Chiswick and consequently saw the strongest growth, of 3.9% over the past year.

'Since the election some of the deferred pent up demand is beginning to flow back into the market, although the new stamp duty rates are still keenly felt by buyers at the top end of the market. This has restricted any significant increases in both prices and transaction numbers and we expect this to continue over the rest of 2015,' the report explains.

Nonetheless, Savills is forecasting price growth to return to the market in 2016 and values to rise by 22.7% over the five years to the end of 2019.

In the prime west London rental sector average rents increased by 1.2% over the three months to the end of June, leaving rental growth flat on an annual basis.

But Savills says that corporate relocations play an important part in the west London prime rental market and are a growing source of demand. Over the first half of 2015 some 67% of tenants were renting due to employment relocation compared to 55% in 2014.

'Over the next five years, the London economy is forecast to continue strengthening, particularly in the technology and telecommunications industries, which will underpin demand for prime rental property over the medium term,' the report points out.

However, it also points out that a potential risk to the sector is the level of new stock being brought to the market by overseas investors in certain locations on the fringes of prime London. In west London the largest prime development region is White City, which may lead to rents coming under pressure in the surrounding areas.

But, across the prime London markets as a whole Savills expects rents to rise by 17% over the course of the next five years.