Weekly Property Round Up

Written on 3 July 2015

This week has seen some big headlines. The ever-looming Greek Exit, expansion plans at Heathrow, and Nadal being knocked out of Wimbledon. Whilst we have been enjoying the sun, and a bustling Wimbledon town centre as tennis fans flock to the All England Tennis Club, we take moment to review some of the (non-tennis) headlines that have caught our attention this week.

Edinburgh gets the go-ahead

This week planning permission was granted by the City of Edinburgh Council to TH Real Estate for its £850m mixed-use Edinburgh St James scheme.

The 1970s shopping centre will be replaced with 750,000 square foot of retail space, a luxury hotel and up to 250 new homes, 30 restaurants and a multi-screen cinema. The project, covering over 1.7m square foot is set to complete in 2020, and is one of the largest regeneration projects currently underway in the UK.

Heathrow Expansion

This week the Airports Commission has recommended a third runway should be built at Heathrow, providing stringent conditions on noise and air pollution can be met.

The £17bn expansion plan would mean 250,000 more flights a year, providing a £150bn boost to GDP over 60 years and 70,000 new jobs, however the process would mean the demolition of 783 houses, the majority of which lie in the neighbouring village of Harmondsworth.

The Airports Commission has recommended that Heathrow airport compensate the 783 homeowners at “full unblighted market value plus an addition 25 per cent and reasonable costs”.

Knight Frank’s head of rural consultancy department, James Del Mar, who has worked on similar schemes such as high-speed rail commented: “Such a controversial scheme will take many years before it gets to the point where affected property owners qualify for official compensation. But in the meantime the value of their homes could be blighted, affecting those who need to move for whatever reason. The current compensation system works well for projects that are quickly approved and developed, but is seriously lacking when it comes to those living in the shadow of a major infrastructure scheme”.

Greek Exit

The banks are closed, cash machines are empty and all reports currently highlight the gloomy situation in the sunny Mediterranean country. The Greek exit (I refuse to use the two letter prefix to euro terminology that has trended of late) looks more than likely, but local London agency, Black Brick, has reported an increase in Greek clients looking to invest in prime property in London.

Based in Mayfair, Black Brick’s Managing Partner, Camilla Dell reports: ‘Greece’s super-rich have long been a feature of the top end of London’s property market, but the country’s recent woes have seen a different type of buyer arrive from Athens. Middle-class Greeks are looking to acquire London property as a hedge against the effects that a return to the drachma would have on pensions and similar investments held in Greece. They are typically looking for investment properties up to the £1million mark that can provide stable income and hold their value”.