Much like the rest of the capital, the demand for housing continues to outstrip supply in the West Hampstead area. However, due to the high proportion of buyers from overseas leaving properties empty for much of the time, this isn’t necessarily a positive thing.
House prices aside, councils are warning that allowing properties to be bought up in this manner and the healthy trend in ‘buy-to-let’ could be a “growing economic problem for the local community”.
Rising prices are making it difficult for families to purchase homes in the area, it being attractive in terms of transport links and the type of houses that are available.
Add to that that salaries are not really keeping pace with houses prices, and the outlook for young families seems even bleaker. However, this doesn’t sound the death knell for West Hampstead properties and communities, especially since councils are aware of the issues and willing to address it.
The Neighbourhood Development Plan
The Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP) looks to address the provision of housing that’s suitable for families, old people and young people.
“There are plans for significant development and population increase in the West Hampstead Growth Area. The London Plan sets a target of a minimum of 800 new homes and 100 jobs between 2010 and 2031,” the draft development plan states.
Of course this in turn will create more demand for services in the local area, such as schools, transport and so on and will then contribute to a healthier community in terms of house buying and a thriving local economy.
As far as schools in the area go, it’s been said that West Hampstead council’s school department is already over-stretched and Kilburn counsellor Mike Katz was last year campaigning for a new primary school to serve the area.
However, according to the NDP: “Development will make good deficiencies in social and community facilities in the Area and bring improvements to meet the needs of the growing population.”
This includes local services and community facilities being considered “high importance” when it comes to further development for “schools, nurseries, health centres, libraries and youth facilities”.
West Hampstead is considered to have retained a certain “village” feel to it over the years and community lies at the heart of this. The increasing demand for school places suggests an overall demand for family and affordable homes, which will in turn continue to drive local community and economy.
Indeed, the Camden Core Strategy (CCS) for the future says that it will “seek to ensure that 50% of the borough-wide target for additional self-contained homes is provided as affordable housing” and that these will seek to include smaller homes, as well as larger ones, in order to ensure a good mix of ages within the community.
Considering the government Help to Buy scheme is already said to be helping around 25,000 people to get on the property ladder since the Equity Loan scheme was launched, this looks to be achievable.
Add to that the launch of the Mortgage Guarantee Scheme in January 2014 and it looks even more likely that local people will be able to afford to buy in West Hampstead. This means that the outlook for the local economy is a positive one, as more people that can afford to buy and upgrade locally will help retain the sense of community and drive regeneration for the area overall.
Article by Armun Peeroozee, Lettings Manager for Hunters West Hampstead branch. Follow Armun on LinkedIn by clicking HERE.