Local W4 market information for homeowners, Landlords & Investors.

Month: July 2016

The Chiswick Love Affaire with its 5,200 Terraced Houses

Call me old fashioned, but I do like the terraced house.  In fact, I have done some research that I hope you will find of interest my Chiswick property market blog reading friends!


In architecture terms, a terraced or townhouse is a style of housing in use since the late 1600’s in the UK, where a row of symmetrical / identical houses share their side walls. The first terraced houses were actually built by a French man, Monsieur Barbon around St. Paul’s Cathedral within the rebuilding process after the Great Fire of London in 1666. Interestingly, it was the French that invented the terraced house around 1610-15 in the Le Marais district of Paris with its planned squares and properties with identical facades. However, it was the 1730’s in the UK, that the terraced/townhouse came into its own in London and of course in Bath with the impressive Royal Crescent.


However, we are in Chiswick, not Bath, so the majority of our Chiswick terraced houses were built in the Victorian era. Built on the back of the Industrial Revolution, with people flooding into the towns and cities for work in Victorian times, the terraced house offered decent livable accommodation away from the slums. An interesting fact is that the majority of Victorian Chiswick terraced houses are based on standard design of a ‘posh’ front room, a back room (where the family lived day to day) and scullery off that. Off the scullery, a door to a rear yard, whilst upstairs, three bedrooms (the third straight off the second). Interestingly, the law was changed in 1875 with the Public Health Act and each house had to have 108ft of livable space per main room, running water, it’s own outside toilet and rear access to

allow the toilet waste to be collected (they didn’t have public sewers in those days in Chiswick – well not at least where these ‘workers’ terraced houses were built).


It was the 1960’s and 70’s where inside toilets and bathrooms were installed (often in that third bedroom or an extension off the scullery) and gas central heating in the 1980’s and replacement Upvc double glazing ever since.


Looking at the make up of all the properties in Chiswick, some very interesting numbers appear. Of the 20,594 properties in W4 …


752 are Detached properties (3.6%)

3,082 are Semi Detached properties (14.9%)

5,297 are Terraced / Town House properties (25.7%)

11,443 are Apartment/ Flat’s (55.5%)



And quite noteworthy, there are 20 mobile homes, representing 0.1% of all property in Chiswick.


When it comes to values, the average price paid for a Chiswick terraced house in 1995 was £195,150 and the latest set of figures released by the land Registry states that today that figure stands at £1,112,880, a rise of 470% – not bad when you consider detached properties in Chiswick in the same time frame have only risen by 357%.


But then a lot of buy to let landlords and first time buyers I speak to think the Victorian terraced house is expensive to maintain. I recently read a report from English Heritage that stated maintaining a typical Victorian terraced house over thirty years is around sixty percent cheaper than building and maintaining a modern house- which is quite fascinating don’t you think!


Don’t dismiss the humble terraced house – especially in Chiswick!

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Population in the Chiswick area set to rise to 332,000 by 2036

Chiswick faces a predicament. The population is growing and the provision of new housing isn’t keeping up. With the average age of a Chiswick person being 35.2 years (compared to the London average of 35.6 years old and the national average of 39.4 years of age), the population of Chiswick is growing at an alarming rate. This is due to an amalgamation of longer life expectancy, a fairly high birth rate (compared to previous decades) and high net immigration, all of which contribute to housing shortages and burgeoning house prices.


My colleague works closely with Durham University and they have kindly produced some statistics specifically for the Hounslow London Borough Council area. Known as the UK’s leading authority for such statistics, their population projections make some startling reading…


For the Hounslow London Borough Council area … these are the statistics and future forecasts


2016 population                 275,083

2021 population                 293,414

2026 population                 308,098

2031 population                 320,566

2036 population                 332,054


The normal ratio of people to property is 2 to 1 in the UK, which therefore means…


We need just over 28,000 additional new properties to be built

in the Hounslow London Borough Council area over the next 20 years.


Whilst focusing on population growth does not tackle the housing crisis in the short term in Chiswick, it has a fundamental role to play in long-term housing development and strategy in the district. The rise of Chiswick property values over the last six years since the credit crunch are primarily a result of a lack of properties coming onto the market, a lack of new properties being built in the district

and rising demand (especially from landlords looking to buy property to rent them out to the growing number of people wanting to live in Chiswick but can’t buy or rent from the Council).


Although many are talking about the need to improve supply (i.e. the building of new properties), the issue of accumulative demand from population growth is often overlooked. Nationally, the proportion of 25-34 year olds who own their own home has dropped dramatically from 66.7% in 1987 to 43.8% in 2014, whilst 78.2% of over 65s own their own home. Longer life expectancies mean houses remain in the same hands for longer.


The swift population growth over the last thirty years provides more competition for the young than for mature population. It might surprise some people that 98% of all the land in the UK is either industrial, commercial or agricultural, with only two percent being used for housing, which means one could propose expanding supply to meet a expanding population by building on green belt – that most Politian’s haven’t got the stomach to tackle, especially in the Tory’ strongholds of the South of England, where the demand is the greatest. People mention brownfield sites, but recent research suggests there aren’t as many sites to build on, especially in Chiswick that could accommodate 28,000 properties in the next 20 years.


In the short to medium term, demand for a roof over of one’s head will continue to grow in Chiswick (and the country as a whole). In the short term, that demand can only be met from the private rental sector (which is good news for homeowners and landlords alike as that keeps house prices higher).


In the long term though, local and national Government and the UK population as a whole, need to realise these additional millions of people over the next 20 years need to live somewhere. Only once this issue starts to get addressed, in terms of extra properties being built in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way, can we all help create a socially ecological prosperous future for everyone.

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Which is the best month to sell your Chiswick home?

I had a homeowner from Gunnersbury email me the other day. She said she had been following my blog (the Chiswick Property Market Blog) for a while and wanted to pick my brain on when is the best time of the year to sell a property. Trying to calculate the best time to put your Chiswick property on the market can often seem something akin to witchcraft and, whilst I would agree that there are particular times of the year that can prove more productive than others, there are plenty of factors that need to be taken into consideration.


Even if you are putting your property on the market, you don’t know how long it will take to find a buyer – no crystal ball to help with that one. At the moment, the latest set of figures for all 34 estate agents in Chiswick, show the average length of time it takes to find a buyer for any Chiswick property is as follows ..


Detached                     126 days

Semi                            90 days

Terraced                     101 days

Flat                              129 days

Overall average          119 days



If we roll the clock back to January 2016, the overall average time it took to find a buyer (again using data from all of the 34 Chiswick Estate Agents) was 125 days.


So, on the face of it, things have improved slightly over the last six months or so. Well, when I looked at the data going back to 2008, and every Spring since then, the average length of time it takes to sell a property usually drops between January and the Summer months, for it to rise on the run up to Christmas. For example ..


Winter 2008 – 127 days          Summer 2008 – 102 days


and in more recent times …


Winter 2013 – 113 days          Summer 2013 – 102 days

Winter 2014 – 90 days           Summer 2014 – 110 days

Winter 2015 – 112 days          Summer 2015 –  97 days



Coming back to the present, even if you placed your property on the market today in Chiswick, if it takes you on average seventeen weeks to find a buyer, then you can expect solicitors and the chain to take an additional eight and twelve weeks after that, before you move. It comes down to personal choice as to when you place your property on the market. Children often affect the decision. On one side you might delay putting that for sale board in your front garden so you can move in the summer school holidays, but on the other side, you might want to move sooner to be in the catchment

area of a preferred school, in plenty of time for the next academic year?


There are times of the year when it’s better to sell, and times when waiting a little longer can pay off in the long run. In a nutshell, I would say this is the way of the seasons ..


Spring: Customarily there are more house-buyers as the Daffodils show themselves

Summer: Sellers may miss out on house-buyers being on holiday

Autumn: The enthusiasm for buying homes returns

Winter: Interest diminishes as festive period looms

What this means to buyers and landlord investors is that they

often pick up a bargain in later months of the year, as there is less competition from owner occupiers. So, whilst there are better months to achieve a quicker sale, the only piece of advice I can give to every home owner and landlord in Chiswick, is do the right thing for yourself, do your homework and buy (and sell) with both your head as well as your heart.

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Asking Prices in Chiswick Property up 0.3% in the last year

I had an interesting question the other day from a homeowner in Chiswick who asked me the difference between asking prices and values and why it mattered. When it comes to selling property, there must be agreement between the purchaser (buyer) and seller (vendor) for a property sale to take place. The value a buyer applies to a property can massively differ from the value a seller or mortgage company places upon it. The seller, the buyer and the mortgage company must find an agreeable value to assign to a property so the sale can proceed.


In many of my articles about the Chiswick property market, I talk about values, i.e. what property in Chiswick actually sells for, but I haven’t spoken about asking prices for while. Now asking prices are important as they are one of the four key matters a potential buyer will judge your property on (the others being location, bedrooms and type). Price yourself too high and you will put off buyers. So let’s take a look at the Chiswick numbers.


Over the last 12 months asking prices (i.e. the price advertised in the paper and on Rightmove) in Chiswick have increased slightly by 0.3% taking the average asking price to £1,058,511 (up from £1,054,649 12 months ago).


Interestingly though, when we look at, say terraced properties and flats/apartments, a slightly different picture appears. Twelve months ago, the average asking price for a terraced house in Chiswick was £1,334,300 and today its £1,443,100 (a rise of 8%); whilst over the same 12-month period, the average asking price of a flat/apartment was £692,700 a year ago, and today its £751,100 (also a rise of 8%).


However, my research shows that the supply of property for sale in Chiswick is beginning to increase. In December 2015, there were 655 on the market in Chiswick today there are 912 properties on the market (up 39%). This will mean homeowners looking to sell will need to be conscious of how their property compares against others on the Chiswick property market. The Chiswick property market still has substantial momentum and sufficient demand remains to provoke more modest asking price rises. This noteworthy increase in supply since Christmas is currently providing more choice for buyers and is tempering asking prices.


… And here is the second point to make. Asking prices are one thing, but what a property sells for (i.e. value) is a completely different matter. These are the average prices achieved (i.e. what they sold for or the average value) for property in Chiswick over the last 12 months…


  • Overall Average £1,026,700
  • Terraced £863,100
  • Flats/Apartments £409,000


You can quite clearly see, there is a difference between what people are asking for property and what it is selling for. The underlying fundamentals of low interest mortgages and tight supply remain prevalent in the Chiswick property market however, the number one lesson has to be this … if you want to sell, be realistic with your pricing.


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