By Head of Research, Nicola Almond

300,000 is the headline number for measures aimed at solving the housing crisis in yesterday’s budget – this is both the target annual house building figure and the new stamp duty threshold.

The government aims to leach this level of supply by the middle of the next decade through a combination of carrot and stick policies, including £44bn to fund loans, guarantees and skill supply, and ‘use it or lose it’ measures to address ‘land banking’ by developers. On the demand side, stamp duty is to be abolished for first time buyers on purchases up to £300,000, and cut to 5% from £300,000 to £500,000 (a maximum saving of £5,000).

Although these measures are to be welcomed, it is questionable whether they will be enough to improve the situation in London, where the issue of housing delivery and affordability is most acute. With the average property price in the capital fast approaching £500,000, the main problem for first time buyers is not stamp duty but the deposit. The average deposit in London is about £100,000, so whilst a stamp duty saving of £5,000 is helpful, it is not a ‘make or break’ saving. And with the OBR already forecasting that the stamp duty cuts will boost prices by 0.3%, this will erode £1,500 of the tax saving on a £500,000 purchase.

As all hopes fade for a Buy to Let tax reprieve, the continued exodus of these landlords will mean higher rents as the supply of properties to rent is squeezed. This unintended consequence may well be compounded by plans to make landlords offer longer contracts. A good pool of rental properties is essential to a healthy property market, and the government needs to consider how this supply can be boosted, not only in terms of institutional landlords (who had hoped for relief from the additional levy) but also small landlords who play a crucial role in the housing market, especially in London. Planned measures such as forcing landlords to offer longer contracts may well be counterproductive, as has been the 3% stamp duty surcharge.

Rising rents make it harder for Generation Rent to save for a deposit. Help to Buy has helped bridge this gap for those who can’t resort to the bank of mum and dad, but more help is needed. We would have liked to see bolder measures to address affordability by increasing the supply of homes which young Londoners can afford to buy. This means delivering many more properties, especially in the Outer London boroughs, where relatively low price levels mean they are genuinely affordable.

On the demand side, the increasingly popular Help to Buy shared ownership and equity loan schemes should be further expanded. Whilst the previously announced £10bn additional funding for the Help to Buy / Equity Loan scheme is expected to help around 135,000 more people to buy homes by 2021, in our view this is not enough. More funds should be found for both the equity loan and shared ownership schemes, accompanied by a major public information programme, as they offer the only viable routes to purchase for many, and are generally not well understood.

Overall however, the budget measures are likely to boost sentiment and prices in the short term, which is good news for property owners, if not for those waiting in the wings. In the longer term, we need to see the delivery of promises such as planning reform and the release of public land for development to help address the structural supply problem.

Group CEO Anne Currell said:

“Whilst we welcome all the measures announced yesterday, the government continues to tinker at the edges, and has failed to address the real issue which is affordability, especially in London. It really needs to pay attention to the bigger picture, particularly the rental market – retaining the punitive 3% stamp duty surcharge on landlords whilst simultaneously expecting them to deliver more rental properties with longer contracts smacks of trying to have your cake and eat it.”

If your family is growing and you’re looking for a house that meets your needs – look no further. Here are our top picks of homes for families in Hackney, Islington, and Clerkenwell:

College Cross, N1

This early Grade II listed four bedroom Victorian house has been modernised to a high standard whilst still keeping some of its original period features. Set over five storeys, the house includes a light and airy loft room and a landscaped garden. College Cross is also a convenient location for transport links, just an eight minute walk from Highbury and Islington station.

Greenwood Road, E8

This four bedroom end of terrace house on Greenwood Road is in the popular London Fields area. All the bedrooms are of a good size, with a large open plan kitchen and dining area. Just over the other side of the fields is Broadway Market, with its many shops, bars and restaurants – perfect for eating out as a family.

Heaven Tree Close, N5

A modern thee bedroom terraced house set within a private development next to Canonbury station. The property also has a large full-width extension to the rear. Canonbury station allows easy access to Stratford and Highbury & Islington stations with great connections into the City and Canary Wharf.

Rocliffe Street, N1

This three bedroom Victorian property is in the highly sought after Duncan Terrace/Colebrook Row conservation area. Set over four storeys, the house has been modernised to a high standard and has great access for the City and Old Street.

Hemingford Road, N1

This four storey home is also a Grade II listed Victorian property, in immaculate decorative condition. The house has been renovated to a high standard over the years, and is now an ideal family home, with plenty of entertaining space. Hemingford Road is in the highly sought after Barnsbury area, and is just a five minute walk from Caledonian Road and Barnsbury station.

Elfort Road, N5

This impressive double fronted Victorian property is set on a quiet street in Highbury, with five bedrooms, two reception rooms, and a private walled garden.  Elfort Road is conveniently positioned for either Highbury & Islington or Arsenal tube stations.

Baltic Street East, EC1Y 

This striking home is located on a quiet no-through road just moments from an array of restaurants, bars and boutique shops found in Barbican, Farringdon & Old Street. It was formerly a woodwork warehouse dating back to the Victorian period but has since been beautifully refurbished to provide a stunning three bedroom home.

This weekend saw the successful launch of the final phase of the M Collection development in Langley Park, Maidstone. The M Collection is a stunning collection of twenty 1, 2, and 3 bedroom apartments, houses, and coach houses available to buy through shared ownership.

This is the second phase of the M Collection, featuring six 2 bedroom apartments.

These well-presented homes are built to an excellent standard with modern fitted kitchens, en-suites and bathrooms. All properties benefit from allocated parking.

Langley Park forms part of a new neighbourhood in Maidstone, offering a wide selection of homes, shops and a new school. Langley Park is close to the North Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and is a short drive from the M20 and Maidstone East Station, with great links to central London and Kent.

All available homes were reserved at the launch. Head of Shared Ownership Martin Fillery said:

“16 people attended the launch of the latest phase at Langley Park, with 16 reservations taken on the day against the 12 properties available. This demonstrates the huge demand for shared ownership properties in the area.”

To find out more about shared ownership properties available, take a look at our website.

Last Thursday, Group Chairman Chris Currell, along with Director of New Homes Matt Cobb, attended the BOLD magazine event to celebrate their 9th issue.

BOLD magazine is an annual publication that highlights the work of regeneration organisations within the London borough of Barking and Dagenham, as well as celebrating its culture and history.

The event brought together a diverse mix of attendees from various housing developers and local organisations. Special guest speakers included photographer David Bailey CBE, Robert Wilkinson from Countryside Properties, Max Farrell of Farrells, and captain of West Ham United FC, Mark Noble.

“At the moment we are seeing an exciting time in the history of Barking and Dagenham, with an ambitious target to provide housing of all tenures throughout the borough,” said Chris Currell. “The event was a great opportunity to meet and engage with major stakeholders as well as other members of the wider community.”

The latest issue of the magazine includes a feature on Eastbury Manor House, the rich feminist history of Barking and Dagenham, the borough’s film heritage, sporting heroes and more.

To get a free copy of the magazine, click here.

 

As part of the company’s expansion into East London, Currell are pleased to announce that we will be opening a new Hackney Wick Fish Island office on Wallis Road. The office is in a perfect location just down the road from Hackney Wick Overground station.

As well as selling and letting properties within Hackney Wick and Fish Island, we will also be working in the surrounding areas of Leyton and Stratford.

Anne Currell, CEO, said:

“HWFI is a natural extension of our already very strong positioning in East London.

In the nineties Hackney Wick had the largest number of artists’ studios in Europe. They sat alongside the industrial buildings which replaced the Victorian housing lost in the blitz. I have lived in Hackney for over 30 years and I have a passion for art, so it’s not surprising we wanted to be part of the story of Hackney Wick; to see new homes created whilst retaining the artistic fabric of the area.”

Chris Currell was a guest speaker at the National Insolvency Conference held at 20 Fenchurch Street (Walkie Talkie building) in the City on 4th October 2017.  The event was hosted by DWF in their London office with delegates attending from all over the country.

The event brought together speakers including Phillip Shaw, Chief Economist at Investec, who gave his medium and long-term view on the economy.  Heather Morris, DWP Business Restructuring, who spoke about the ‘vulnerable bankrupt’.

Katharine Lawrenson, Head of Creditor Services, discussed the most FAQ’s regarding tenants & landlords and the day was brought to a close by Gavin Jones, Head of Restructuring at DWP. Find out more about DWP and the work they do here.

Chris Currell talked about the property market over the last 20 years and how London and the South-East have raced ahead from the rest of the UK.  It was accompanied by two insolvency case studies that Currell Chartered Surveyors have dealt with, providing an insight into the type of work and cases that Currell have been involved in.

If you need further information on our insolvency services please email insolvency&professional@currell.com

Get your costume ready and leave some sweets out for the trick or treaters, because there’s plenty to get up to for Halloween this year. Here are our top picks of what’s on offer in East London:

Carnival of Carnage – Hoxton

The Kings Head Members Club plays host to a creepy club night filled with horror stories and séances. With a dress code of ‘clowns in cravats, dandy devils, tailcoated terrors and monocled mummies’ you’re sure to be in for a trendy Halloween.

Get your ticket here

Nosferatu Screening – Shoreditch

For a truly spine-chilling viewing, head to the Old Street Church, St Luke’s. The beautiful, deconsecrated building is the perfect setting for a screening of the iconic vampire film Nosferatu. The film will also be accompanied by a live musical score from The Cabinet of Living Cinema.

Get your ticket here

Dead Dolls House Halloween – Islington

The Dead Doll’s House is a Victorian townhouse that is famously rumoured to be haunted – the ideal location for a Halloween party. Join them on the 27th October for their annual Halloween ball, with a dinner early in the evening, followed by a DJ set until the early hours.

Get your tickets here

Halloween in the Sky – Aldgate

Party the night away 35 floors over the streets of London at the Sky Garden in Aldgate. The famous bar and restaurant will be transformed into a deadly disco with live music, make-up artists, and Halloween themed food and drinks.

Get your ticket here

Hocus Pocus Halloween – Shoreditch

The Book Club in Shoreditch is holding a screening of the much-loved 90s classic, Hocus Pocus, followed by a Halloween themed club night. Sip on witches brew, have your face painted, and dance the night away to your favourite 90s tunes.

Get your tickets here

Oblique Voodoo Halloween – Islington

Angel’s boutique cocktail club, Ladybird, will be transformed into a glow in the dark Caribbean jungle for their Voodoo Halloween night. With face painting, tarot card reading, and special Halloween drinks, it’s definitely not one to be missed.

Get your tickets here

We all like to save time in the morning, and living near a station is the ideal solution to cutting your commute. With this in mind, here are our top picks of properties that are just a short stroll from a station.

Cremer Street, Hoxton

This light and spacious apartment within the gated development of Nichols Court is just a four minute walk round the corner from Hoxton Overground station. From here, the tech hub of Old Street is just a three minute journey with Shoreditch High Street one stop away. Canada Water is also a twelve minute journey away, taking you one stop from Canary Wharf.

North Mill Apartments, Hackney

The beautifully modern North Mill Apartments provide lots of light and space, with floor-to-ceiling windows and an open plan kitchen/living room area. The building is also conveniently located for Haggerston Overground station, just a two minute walk away. From here, Highbury and Islington is ten minutes away for Victoria line services, and Whitechapel just seven minutes for services on the District and Hammersmith and City lines.

Britton Street, Clerkenwell

This stylish two bedroom flat is ideally located in the heart of the City, and just a three minute walk from Farringdon Underground and mainline rail station. This will benefit from the opening of Crossrail in 2018, providing fast services to Heathrow airport and across London. Farringdon currently offers journey times of six minutes to Liverpool Street, and just three minutes to Kings Cross.

PriME1, Rochester

For those looking for somewhere quiet outside of the capital, PriME1 in Rochester is a perfect commuter home. Just two minutes down the road from Rochester station, it offers journeys to Kings Cross in under an hour – perfect for a mixture of both city and country living. PriME1 is due to be completed in summer 2018, and is available to buy through shared ownership.

The Tapestry Building, Clerkenwell

Built in the 18th Century by the East India Company, this impressive building has now been converted into 14 contemporary warehouse apartments. This stunning two bedroom flat is not only beautifully presented, but also in a perfect location. Liverpool Street station is just a four minute walk round the corner, with access to Central, Circle, Hammersmith and City and Metropolitan lines as well as the Overground and TfL rail, making it ideal for getting around London.

Hoxton Nine, Old Street

This luxurious penthouse apartment is one of eight exclusive residences in the Hoxton Nine development in Shoreditch. As well as being close to all the bars and the restaurants in the area, it’s also just a five minute walk from the Old Street roundabout and Underground station. From here, you can be in London Bridge or Kings Cross in just five minutes.

Heaven Tree Close, Canonbury

This three bedroom modern terraced house is set within a private development, with a garden and full width extension to the rear, making it a perfect family home. It’s also ideal for commuters, as it’s situated just round the corner from Canonbury Overground station. From here, you can be in Highbury and Islington in five minutes for connections to the Victoria line, or Stratford in 14 minutes with connections to the Jubilee and Central lines, as well as the DLR and TfL rail services.

Victoria Park Square, Victoria Park

This bright, one bedroom flat is situated in a beautiful mansion block with views over the Museum of Childhood and the leafy Museum Gardens. It is also just a two minute walk from Bethnal Green Underground station, offering Central Line services of just three minutes to Liverpool Street, five minutes to Bank, and five minutes to Stratford.

London Lane, London Fields

Ready to move into in early 2018, these beautiful new homes overlooking London Fields feature high-end interior specification and boast ample outside space. London Fields Overground station is just a two minute walk away, offering journeys of seven minutes to Liverpool Street.

Fifty Seven East, Dalston

This stunning new development offers fantastic views of the London skyline through floor to ceiling windows, as well as beautifully modern interior design. The building is also just next door to Dalston Kingsland Overground station, offering a direct twelve minute train to Stratford, a four minute train to Highbury and Islington, and services across east London on the Overground. Liverpool Street is also just 19 minutes away, perfect for those commuting to the City.

Last night saw the first of two private views of some of the Currell Collection’s photographic works. The Currell Collection is the personal art collection of Currell’s founders, Anne and Chris Currell.

The doors of our Islington office on Upper Street opened last night for a showcase of some excellent photography. Jack Latham, who had works on display from both of his photobooks, Sugar Paper Theories and A Pink Flamingo, gave a truly gripping talk about the inspiration behind his latest collection.

Jack Latham’s Sugar Paper Theories won the Bar Tur Photobook Award in 2016 and was co-published by The Photographers’ Gallery and Here Press. It is a mixture of original photographs and archival photography/other documentary materials that explores the fundamental nature of photography. It questions photography’s defining principles of truth and objectivity in light of the Gudmundur and Geirfinnur case, one of Iceland’s most prolific and controversial murder cases. Find out more about the collection (and the case) here.

David Gwinnutt, senior valuer for Currell Residential, also had some work on display – three portraits from his 1980s archives. David is renowned for documenting the rising stars of London’s queer scene in the 80s, and was voted 16th on the Independent’s Pink List of the top 100 most influential gay people in Britain today after he created the Pink Jack – a symbol of modern Britain and gay pride.

Brett Rogers OBE, the Director of The Photographers’ Gallery since 2005, also gave a talk about the institution. The Photographers’ Gallery is widely recognised as being instrumental in establishing photography as a leading art form in the UK.

To see more work in the Currell Collection, take a look at the website here, or pop into our Islington office to see the photographic works.

Now that it’s officially autumn, it’s time to prepare your home accordingly with some cosy updates. Here’s our pick of the best ways to vamp up your home for autumn

1. Dress up the fireside

As the days get colder, a fire is the perfect way to keep warm and get the household together. Make sure your fireside is dressed and prepared with some handy yet stylish log storage.

2. Throw it on

A classic autumn home staple is a good, warm throw – perfect for evenings snuggled up on the sofa. This is also a great way to introduce some more autumnal shades into your living room.

3. Add some autumn aromas

A scented candle can quickly transform the atmosphere of a room. As well as making it look warmer and cosier, scents with a touch of cinnamon or pumpkin can instantly give your home an autumnal revival without having to splash out on new furniture.

 

4. Clear out the mug cupboard

Colder nights means more hot drinks – which makes autumn the perfect time to clear out all the forgotten mugs that were gifted to you last Christmas and update the cupboard with some fresh new designs.

5. Inject some autumnal colours

As discovered in our previous article about updating your home for spring, two easy ways to change up a room are with your bedding and your cushions. Replacing these two things can instantly change your impression of the room as soon as you walk in, so switch out your summer colours for deep oranges and earthy browns.