Europe's largest redevelopment project is also one of the most attractive areas to live, work and invest in London
London residential markets are still among the most competitive options for overseas property investors, according to new research by Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL). Despite the increased stamp duty on foreign transactions, purchasing property in London was found to be more affordable than other global hotspots such as Sydney, Singapore and Vancouver, with £73,750 (HK$748,166) transaction tax on a £1m property purchase (compared to £300,000 (HK$3.04m) in Hong Kong).
Investing in London property can be a tricky prospect however, because of the large discrepancies in house prices and yields between areas. As redevelopment continues to transform the British capital, it's important for buyers to keep track of the changing fortunes of London districts to make sure they're investing wisely. In the new decade, Kings Cross is going from strength to strength as one of the best prospects for Central London residential investment.
Occupying 67 acres of prime Central London real estate, Kings Cross has changed dramatically over the past two decades, from underused industrial zone and red light district to one of the inner city's most vibrant destinations with a thriving creative industry. As the regeneration continues to enhance the area's appeal, the population is expected to grow by 9% over the next decade, increasing demand for property in a city already struggling with a housing shortfall.
According to figures from JLL and Molior, new build property prices in King Cross increased by 106% from 2011 to 2019, compared to just 19% for London Zones 1 and 2 overall. Rents increased by 33% during the same period. JLL forecasts a further 13.9% house price growth and 11.9% rental growth over the next five years, outperforming Greater London as a whole.
Nick Whitten, JLL Head of UK Living Research, explains: “Kings Cross is a richly historic part of London which has undergone a phenomenal regeneration over the past 20 years with thousands of new homes built around several new public parks and squares. Kings Cross is proving to be a particularly attractive area to live in London with around 45% of homes in the area occupied by affluent young professionals.”
A focal point of the Kings Cross regeneration is the Knowledge Quarter, a district of innovation comprising more than 100 organizations in a one-mile radius, from cutting-edge medical research to leading global brands, most notably Google. Office rents in Kings Cross have doubled since Google opened its doors in 2013, attracting other high-profile names including Facebook, Samsung, Nike and Universal Music.
The regeneration is adding 1.8 million square feet of commercial space to Kings Cross for a total of 3.4m square feet of workspace in 19 new and refurbished buildings. Approximately 70,000 skilled workers live in and commute to Kings Cross every day, a number that's sure to grow in line with the booming tech sector.
Kings Cross is a natural fit for global organizations thanks to its excellent connectivity, soon to be enhanced further following £2.5bn of infrastructure investment. Kings Cross, St. Pancras and Euston train stations serve routes all over London, taking in all five London airports, as well as to the wider UK and mainland Europe via the Eurostar. Forthcoming Crossrail 2 and HS2 upgrades will add even more destinations and shorten journey times.
Along with commercial expansion, the Kings Cross redevelopment is adding new shopping and dining precincts, arts and culture venues, public spaces and 1,900 homes to make this emerging London hotspot a great place to live as well as work. There's also plenty of space to catch a breath, with 40% of the district (26 acres) designated as open space.
Contributing to this green space and sought-after housing is Grand Central Apartments, a new residential tower of luxury apartments and penthouses surrounded by two acres of gardens and public squares, within walking distance of Kings Cross and St. Pancras stations. Expected to complete from Q4 2022, selected units are now available for overseas property buyers looking to invest in this dynamic part of London.