Three trends for the year ahead.
So here we are, with 2018 well underway.
We know about the meta-trends: Brexit, Trump, the economy… but what of the local patterns that might influence the market in the forthcoming year?
Here’s what we are noticing – and as always we’d love to know what you think:
People everywhere are seeking new ownership options that reduce their outlay, their debt and their liability. They want to spend time with like-minded people, sharing resources and visions. How long before London becomes primarily a destination for work, entertainment and culture, as fewer and fewer people can afford to live here? We foresee smaller units becoming available, with larger, shared communal spaces for younger buyers and renters. Live/Work spaces that extend the hot-desking phenomena embodied by brands such as WeWork and Workspace out into accommodation, will do best as they offer a more flexible solution based on what the customer actually needs, rather than what the market dictates they should have. Homes One is currently active in sourcing land outside London, and buildings and buyers in the city, for new market opportunities of this kind.
2. West is best
Whisper it quietly, and perhaps out of earshot of Smithfields and Clerkenwell, but the west is making a comeback – albeit a mainstream one. With Soho House promising to do for White City (complete with rooftop pool at the old BBC television center) what it has already done for Shoreditch, and Apple moving 1400 employees into its European HQ in Battersea Power Station, from Chelsea to Acton there is a renaissance underway… there’s a even a Triyoga in Ealing! Having grown up around Holland Park and Notting Hill, and lived in Brook Green with my wife and our son for many years, the Wild West, as it was formerly known, has gone rather Westfield, which has its merits (including a new John Lewis opening spring ’18!) however by and large the energy has left, in the direction of the rising sun. As artists and creatives left the area, everything went a bit beige. Now it feels like the tide is turning as investors spy the next generation of development opportunities and remember what makes west London special. Writing this from the Homes One HQ in prime Kensington, long may it last, I say... would you really rather live in Walthamstow or Hammersmith?
3. Armistice (and Harry and Meghan!)
After 2017 - the year of Article 50, a torrid general election, apocalyptic hurricanes and of course featuring Donald Trump as president of the United States of America - how can 2018 be anywhere near as bad? Surely enough, the only events of real significance on the horizon are not one but TWO royal weddings... nothing improves the mood of this nation in quite the same style! Ally those feel-good factors to a clear diary (at least in terms of dystopian political and economic events) and you have a sense of relative stability, and at last the possibility for hope and optimism. As a cautionary note, let us be clear we do not forecast a boom this year, and the most likely scenario is a flat market. However, as long as the residual fear factor from the aforementioned political and socio-economic events continues, this means opportunity.
As ever we are in the know about such openings, and well placed to make connections and spot special situations at just the right moment.
Happy New Year to all our friends.
Wishing you all the best, with making the most of it.