Weekly Property Round Up

Written on 14 August 2015

Almacantar Buys Shell Centre Offices for £550 million

One and Two Southbank Place in Waterloo have just been purchased by Centre Point owner Almacantar for £550 million. The joint venture between the Canary Wharf and Qatari Diar groups is the largest property deal ever completed on London's South Bank.

The project will involve the refurbishment of the Shell Centre's existing 27-storey tower, as well as building 877 new homes, 880,000 sq ft of offices and 80,000 sq ft of retail space.

Almacantar's chief executive, Mike Hussey, said: "We feel that the area around Waterloo Station has  the potential to grow into one of the best mixed use destinations in London and we are excited to be working with Shell and Braeburn in overseeing the transformation of the area".

Prime London Property Back on the Rise

Prime London property prices has seen a small rise of 0.8% in Q2 2015 for the first time in a year. The upswing has been a result of increased foreign buyers, of whom accounted for 35% of sales in the second quarter of 2015. Additionally, sales by investors increased by 8% year on year – accounting for 42% of overall sales.

Pimlico has seen the largest growth of 5% compared to the second quarter of 2015 according to Marsh & Parsons. Areas such as Holland Park, Notting Hill and Kensington and Chelsea lead the way in respect of cost per square foot with prices now valued at £1,516 per sq ft – 27% above the average for the Capital of £1,192 per sq ft.

The market in London is expected to continue to be volatile in the coming years as uncertainty still remains over the status of the Euro zone, and further regulatory changes take effect. Peter Rollings, CEO of Marsh & Persons has commented that "London market is likely to play second fiddle to the rest of the country in the coming months, as it has more fine tuning to do at the highest levels to adapt to the changed stamp duty levels".

LSL Reports 80% Drop in Pre-tax Profits

LSL Property Services has reported an 80% drop in pre-tax profits, with profits falling from £31.4 million last year to £6.2 million. The firm, which is the parent company of Your Move, Marsh & Parsons, Davis Tate and Reeds Rain has said that revenue from house sales was affected by "weak first half market conditions".

The company, which has spent £3.9 million on 13 businesses in the first half of the year, remains optimistic about the rest of the year. Simon Embley, chairman of LSL, said that 'with increasing levels of activity seen in recent months, robust pipelines and a broad coverage of the whole UK residential property sector, LSL is well placed to capitalise on the underlying market fundamentals.'

A Castle or a Commute?

We all know how expensive the average property price in London is. But did you know that there are stunning castles in the south of France with a smaller price tag than the average London property? Château de l'Herm in Perigord, which dates back to the French renaissance, is on the market for £417,000. You certainly get value for money – the castle comes with gothic towers, over a hectare of land and centuries of rich history. In the 16th Century, the castle was built by Jean de Calvimont, an ambassador of Francis I and member of the Bordeaux parliament. Now compare this to your average London property. Situated in a crowded, congested and polluted area without even the smallest of gothic towers to ease the pain of tube strikes. Yet according to figures released by the latest land registry, the average London property costs a jaw dropping £481,820 – £64,820 more than the château.