London’s super suburbs: home sales in ‘village’ areas soar propelled by stamp duty holiday

Twice as many homes have sold in London “super suburbs” as in the rest of the capital since the introduction of the stamp duty holiday in July.

Covid anxieties are driving buyers to the leafiest villages in their search for a period home with a garden near good schools, plenty of parkland and a bustling high street.

Well-heeled families usually drawn to exclusive central London are also switching to the super ’burbs to find more indoor and outdoor space.

New data from Hamptons International shows the number of people who registered to buy in prime central London was up 12 per cent this summer following the Chancellor’s tax break, compared to 31 per cent in the super suburbs.

“Buyers tell us they want to stay in the capital and yet enjoy what feels like village life,” says analyst David Fell of Hamptons International.

Highgate, Chiswick, Wimbledon, Putney, Kew and even Balham are on the list.

Top 5 super suburbs by annual price growth 2020

Suburb Average price growth (%) Average price Profit in 2020
Balham 7.4% £875,000 £293,000
Banstead 7.1% £1,002,000 £229,000
Kingston 6.9% £746,000 £250,000
Kew 6.2% £893,000 £279,000
Twickenham 5.8% £884,000 £334,000

Source: Hamptons International

Property prices reflect the popularity of search areas. The average value in the super ’burbs is £865,000 according to Hamptons, versus a London average of £619,000.

In the last 12 months prices have jumped in 16 out of 20 of these “villages”, rising most steeply in Balham, by 7.4 per cent, followed by Banstead, Kingston, Kew and Twickenham.

Prices fell in the more urban of these areas, namely Hackney (-0.9pc) and Canary Wharf (-1.6pc).

Values also went down in Clapham (-1.2pc), already deemed to be pricey compared to Balham, and Petersham (-1.3pc) where there is typically slower turnover of stock.

There is market momentum in these leafy enclaves. Those already living in the outer super ’burbs are more likely to cash in and buy in the home counties, freeing up family homes for those upsizing but determined to stay in the capital and close to work.

“Since the property sector reopened in May, London’s prime suburbs have been some of the capital’s busiest markets,” says David Fell. “Here, more than twice as many homes came on to the market in comparison to September last year, with those living in prime suburbs more likely than anyone else to move out of London altogether.

“Equally, buyer numbers are up by a third, driven both by people looking to trade up within the capital alongside inward migration from prime central London. The super ’burbs have been one of the biggest winners from the stamp duty holiday. With average prices of £865,000, almost all buyers here have enjoyed the full £15,000 saving.”

Searches spurred by lockdown

South-west London estate agent Rampton Baseley has recorded twice as many sales over June to September compared to 2019.

“The fundamentals of the market did not change during the lockdown,” says founder Patrick Rampton. “People did not stop getting married, having children or getting divorced. In fact, the lockdown was like an extended version of the Boxing Day blues, where people are stuck at home looking at new homes on the internet. When the market reopened these people saw a window to move before Covid Part Two potentially strikes this winter.”

The most affordable of the super ’burbs is Canary Wharf, with average house prices of £477,000, although residential stock in the business district is dominated by apartments and does not have the family scene on offer in the likes of Kingston or Barnes.

West Ewell, on the cusp of Greater London and Surrey, also qualifies as a super ’burb, where the average house price is £489,000.

The most expensive of the super ’burbs is Hampstead, where the average house price is £1,513,000.

“The market has shifted again in the last month as people start to put their homes on the market speculatively, aware that prices are rising for now,” adds Patrick Rampton. “This means more stock for the same number of buyers — but the sensibly priced homes are still selling.”

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