Besides recording videos about property, one of the regular things, our Chairman Brett does, is provide comments to journalists, helps authors get their books out, and uni students with their assignments. Here's his latest Q&A about Woolwich investment and the changes that he's seen over the past 8 years of selling there.
1.Do you think Woolwich Arsenal is a hotspot for investment?
Absolutely, it is, we have been investing for our clients here since 2009 and seen incredible investment returns. However, prices and rental increases have slowed down, especially as Crossrail is due next year. Most importantly looking at what the area looked like back in 2009 and now, it’s a massive change which has attracted a much higher quality of tenants in the area.
Markets cycle but fundamentals are changed forever through regeneration.
2. What is the main reason investors invest in Woolwich, is it Capital Growth or Rental income
Both have been the result of the changes in fundamentals. Shops, schools, transport links, major employment and major investment as fundamentals that I talk about. Woolwich has had a massive boost in investment and transport links culminating in 2018 with Crossrail. Also the quality tenants at the Pavillion Shopping on Royal Arsenal have attracted some a Grade tenants which is always good to attract the professionals.
3. How has the Crossrail impacted on investment?
It’s a massive impact, perhaps one of the biggest impacts in the change in prices and rentals over the past 10 years. This has been seen with every Crossrail station in the country.
4. Is there an appetite for Buy to let investment. What percentage of property is solely bought as an investment?
We only sell 100% investment; the appetite has dropped off since 2015 but the demand remains steady as the quality of housing is good. The introduction of the Help to Buy has been a massive boost to owner occupiers in London and Woolwich.
5. What impact does the regeneration in Woolwich have in property values?
When we started selling in 2009 a one bed at Royal Arsenal Riverside by Berkeley Group was around £180,000 that same apartment would be around £430,000 that’s more than doubled. Much of this regeneration.
6. Where do you see the market in say 5-10 years? Give an assessment of the markets in a downward property cycle.
The market will be even stronger, the market is likely to go through a slow period because of Brexit and the normal cyclical nature of the property market. Woolwich has seen sustained growth and this is unlikely to continue at the same rate, however this has already slowed to a good solid level which is sustainable. The past two years have been slower and more sustainable which is a good thing as it’s unlikely that prices will fall far in a downward market.
7. Do think Woolwich Arsenal is a safe place to invest?
Very safe place to invest, like any town is has its negatives but its proximity to central London will mean it’s always a winner. This of course will not stop a rouge tenant from spoiling your investment and it will not stop a terrorist targeting the area but this could be any area and any property.
8. Does the award-winning developer Berkley Homes in charge of developing the Royal Arsenal site attract investors?
Of course, Berkeley are market makers in every market they work in, the build quality homes and have a great approach to incremental price increases as the market fundamentals change.
9. Does journey times and proximity to the City, Canary Wharf and London City Airport affect investment?
Of course, it makes for an awesome, in fact it already has before Crossrail but with 80,000 people coming out of Crossrail next year it will have an even bigger effect.
10. In your opinion, will the new proposed Financial hub at Royal Albert Dock have any impact on investment?
Asia Business Park at Royal Albert Dock is across the river and will definitely have an impact but with so many developments happening over the river it will dilute the impact of this. The important thing is the overall shift East of the city and the people living in it. The East’s future is bright regardless of any short term downturn.
11. Is there any evidence that the Riverside Location could increase demand?
They don’t make anymore water so this is a key to investment but saying that it’s always been waterfront so this will have already been priced in. However, if you saw the state of the waterfront prior to Berkeley buying the site you would know they have worked magic with it so clearly it has increased demand.
12. Does culture and lifestyle promote investment? How is this related to the Greenwich Strategy 2006 to 2015 to provide vibrant mix of communities supported by quality housing, accessible transport links, open spaces, with
Things work so much better when a council has a vision and the ability implement it. When you add developers who work with a council to provide things like Berkeley RARE – Royal Arsenal Riverside Explore things really start to look good. Building apartments don’t work unless you build the community around it, without community the regeneration will soon die off and turn into a ghetto so its fundamentals that developers and council consider this on larger scale development sites.