Our capital has undergone something of a transformation in the last ten years. Retail-led investment has played a significant role in bringing communities together and has fuelled new employment opportunities, created better infrastructure, and provided continued support for local businesses.
In this blog, we take a look at the ways in which London’s new retail developments have enhanced the social landscape of the city and changed the property market for good, while discussing what’s in store for Croydon as it invests heavily in its retail and leisure facilities.
Are retail developments really pushing up London’s property prices?
There’s no denying that recent major retail developments have had a profound impact on house prices in the surrounding area. As a result of the 2008 launch of Westfield London in White City, which falls within the borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, Rightmove reported that property prices in the region increased by 12.79% – a statistic significantly higher than the average for London, and indeed England and Wales. And the area benefited from a sustained ripple-effect, too, with new-build properties growing in price by a massive 43% between 2011 and 2015 (according to Knight Frank).
It is expected, then, that Westfield and Hammerson’s next joint retail venture, BOXPARK’s second pop-up mall, will serve to support a similar transformation for Croydon’s property market. This development is due for completion in 2019. Experts are predicting that the borough will become home to over 40,000 new residents in the next 5 years, an increase driven in part by the introduction of this innovative retail hub; as a result, demand for housing will continue to increase, leading to higher prices.
Bringing new employment opportunities to London boroughs
The introduction of more retail outlets simply means more jobs for local residents.
As a case in point, hundreds of world-renowned brands have set up shop in West London as a result of the Westfield regeneration scheme. This development alone provides employment for over 12,000 people, with 8,000 new positions expected to emerge by the year 2018. With millions upon millions of visitors and tourists flocking to White City every year, businesses in the local area experience higher levels of footfall than ever before, so smaller, independent companies also benefit greatly from the extra exposure.
Regeneration at Whitgift and Centrale, Croydon’s two main shopping centres, is expected to create a further 5,000 jobs.
Stimulating investment in transport and infrastructure
The London boroughs which neighbour large-scale retail developments have enjoyed significant investment in infrastructure. For example, the regeneration that took place at the Overground and Underground stations in Shepherd’s Bush ensured that Westfield London was not only accessible from elsewhere in the city, but could also attract visitors from surrounding counties. The introduction of new bus stations, along with better pedestrian and cycle routes, adds much-needed structure, aiding the flow of traffic.
East Croydon and West Croydon stations are set to benefit from improved accessibility for commuters, pedestrians, cyclists and drivers, which will undoubtedly ease congestion and improve travel times in and out of the area.
Significant physical changes to any urban landscape will create a marked shift in the types of people who wish to call it home. Vibrant, innovative developments such as Westfield City and, to the east, Westfield Stratford, are attracting the attention of a new wave of young, educated, affluent professionals who are looking for excellent employment opportunities alongside a rich, varied social life.
As BOXPARK nears completion, Croydon can expect to see its residential demographic change significantly. The good news for property investors, as ever, is that a younger, opportunity-hungry population will expect high quality housing, resulting in heightened interested in properties when supply is not yet meeting demand.
For more information on our latest residential property investment opportunities in London, please call our consultants today.