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Property buying agent Nicholas Ayre, director of Home Fusion, looks at those parts of the capital that are becoming more desirable for property investors…

When people find out what I do, they always ask me one of three questions: How much is your house worth? Will I get my money back if I invest in the London property market? And where should I buy? The last question is akin to the Holy Grail for anyone who wants to play the property market. As a buying agent, it’s my job to know where the safest and most profitable investments are to be made. Most of us will have

witnessed dinner party talk and heard half-baked theories about how Rotherhithe is the new Clapham. Keep in mind that all rumours are based on guesswork, but educated guessing can pay dividends when you are playing the property market.

First of all, do your

homework. If you want up-and-coming, you shouldn’t expect a pristine neighbourhood. Instead, look for areas that are under regeneration and think long-term. Nine Elms in the London Borough of Wandsworth – that isolated and unloved area around Battersea Power Station – is the most centrally located regeneration site in London. It’s on the river, a mile upstream from Parliament and next door to Vauxhall, an area that will be familiar to many of those reading Out In The City. The US Government has plans for a new American Embassy there and the Northern Line is to be extended from Kennington, putting Battersea and Nine Elms on the Tube map. As many as 16,000 new homes will be up for grabs if proposals are pushed through, so this is one area to keep a beady eye on. London is so over-populated

and the property market is so mature that there are few hidden gems left. Focus your search on areas like Battersea, Elephant and Castle and King’s Cross, all of which are on the way up. In east London, the Olympic legacy means Stratford has been swiftly regenerated and facilities significantly improved.

Nine Elms’ Elm Quay Court (above) and Viridian Apartments (below) – contact for more details

If you are still stuck for

inspiration, look at the Crossrail route, which is due to be completed in 2018. It links Maidenhead and Heathrow in the west to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east and will bring 1.5million people within a 45-minute commute of central London. This means that property close to the route, and particularly homes within walking distance, are all likely to increase in value. The London market is a fairly safe bet. Foreign investors continue to flock here to invest in the super-prime market (think four-storey Mayfair mansions with swimming pools and heated driveways). Despite our economic woes, foreigners see the UK – which is not experiencing quite the same problems as some Eurozone countries – as a safe territory for their megabucks. While house prices have fallen across Britain, the London market has been fairly unscathed by the recession, which is why you often hear experts talk about the London property ‘bubble’. So if you can afford to invest in property here, do so.

Think about your

requirements carefully before you buy. Chances are you will either want to live in the


Nicholas Ayre

property you buy or you will be planning to rent it out with a view to selling when the property increases in value, or moving in yourself when the area improves. If you are buying to let, you will need to make sure the demand is there. The good news is that demand for rental property in London is at an all-time high, fuelled by a lack of stock and the reluctance of banks to lend to first-time buyers. But it is crucial that you check rental websites and local lettings agencies to gauge how much you can charge tenants before you invest.

If you plan to live there

yourself, you might be waiting a while before an up-and- coming area has all the amenities you want, but a higher priority is ensuring

that an area is safe and you’re not going to get mugged for your iPad on the way home. Websites such as, give information about crimes and policing by postcode. Another priority is transport links. How long will your daily commute take, as well as how long it will take to travel to all your favourite hangouts in the capital. I work with both gay and

straight clients; there is really little that sets them apart. The only difference is that my gay clients tend to be less preoccupied by the proximity of their homes to good schools. But if you’re investing in property long term and you think starting a family will be on your radar in the future, this is something else to consider.

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