Garden homes yield early fruit

By Charlie Jacoby, August 6, 2009
Ridgemont apartments (Countryside and Annington Homes), from £264,950

Ridgemont apartments (Countryside and Annington Homes), from £264,950

Fancy a spacious two-bedroom garden apartment in Mill Hill? Ridgemont, a development by Countryside Properties and Annington Homes, is now offering garden apartments and a pair of these, on the ground floor, has just been released. They are due for occupation in March 2010 and have been brought to the market early, as so many apartments have already been sold at Ridgemont since the start of the year.

Generously-sized and designed to maximise space and light, the property features contemporary design, with sleek modern finishes such as oak-effect woodwork and detailing in stainless steel, chrome and glass.

The separate kitchen is equipped with granite worktops, cream gloss fitted units, an integrated ceramic hob, stainless steel oven, extractor hood, fridge/freezer, dishwasher, washer/dryer and a microwave.

Both double bedrooms benefit from generous storage, with built-in wardrobes, while the master bedroom has an en-suite shower room.

Off Frith Lane, Ridgemont is convenient for Mill Hill Broadway’s range of high-street shops and boutiques, restaurants and cafés and is also within easy reach, by car or public transport, of the kosher food shops of Golders Green and Hendon.

Prices at Ridgemont start from £264,950 for the king-sized two-bedroom garden apartments.

Research shows that this is increasingly a good market in which to sell property.

According to estate agent Knight Frank, prices for prime central London properties rose for the fourth month running in July. Some of the most active buyers in the market are from overseas.

Knight Frank says its £1 million-plus purchases have grown from 35 per cent to 43 per cent over the past 12 months.

Liam Bailey, head of residential research at Knight Frank, comments: “It has been another strong month for the prime London residential market, with prices up across every sub-market, by area, price band and property type. While the UK market has seen a similar bounce in recent months, the prime markets appear to be leading the market by some margin.

“Rising prices in central London stem from three fundamental issues — returning confidence, resilient demand and plummeting supply.

“One factor underpinning all else is the fact that prices fell very hard and very fast a little more than six months ago. Partially due to the panic engendered by the Lehman’s collapse, prices slipped 15 per cent in the five months to January this year. By the early summer, property in London was perceived to be offering very good value.

“The three biggest overseas markets in the second quarter of 2008 were European (37 per cent of all overseas buyers), Russian (19 per cent) and North American (13 per cent).

“In the second quarter this year, these figures slipped (to 34, 14 and 10 per cent respectively) as we saw a doubling in the proportion of overseas demand from Africa, Asia, Australia, China, the CIS (Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan) and the Middle East.

Buyers’ agent Prime Purchase points out, however, that the annual rate of growth remains negative and that last month’s growth rate was quite modest. Like Knight Frank, however, Prime Purchase points to overseas buyers as those leading the recovery. Nathalie Hirst of Prime Purchase London says: “We now have an increasing number of international buyers registered and seeking investment property in the £2 million to £5 million price range as well as those seeking higher-value houses and flats as London homes. These buyers are undoubtedly helping to strengthen confidence”.

Prime Purchase still says that lack of stock is a key factor affecting the prime London market and estimates that the supply of the quality properties of the type its buyers require is down 40 per cent on last year.

And it still remains concerned about uncertainty in the UK economy in terms of interest-rate rises, inflation and unemployment.

Islington, north London is one of the only local authorities in the UK that has experienced positive overall house-price growth over the past year.

The Chesterton Humberts’ June Poll of Polls shows the average house price in Islington has increased 0.5 per cent from June 2008 to £418,990 — making Islington one of only seven local authorities out of 170 in the UK to show positive annual growth.

Islington also has the fourth most expensive house prices, after Kensington & Chelsea, the City of Westminster and Camden.

Last updated: 10:59am, August 6 2009