Cambridge’s place on the property map of 2014

Richard Hatch, partner and head of residential at Carter Jonas in Cambridge, paints the local property picture we ring in the new year

The Cambridge market – particularly in the city centre – continues to shine as property hot-spot for residential sales and lettings as we head in to 2014 and the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement at the end of last year (December 5) retained a framework for a positive view of the housing market.

Last year (2013) was definitely the year Cambridge knew it grew with new homes developments setting an impressive pace of sales off-plan.

The London effect hardened its grip on the local market in 2013, particularly at the premium end. London prime in select locations and boroughs continues to perform in isolation from the rest of the UK but Cambridge has a bona-fide effect of its own now.

Through the basic law of supply and demand, those with property to sell in central Cambridge are in a favourable position to present themselves to London’s exiles.

Competitive bidding has been frequent and looks set to continue in certain Cambridge locations – particularly in the range of the £400,000 to £1 million bracket where demand has been at its highest.

High levels of employment in Cambridge continue to reinforce business confidence in the city and with large multi-national corporations such as ARM, Microsoft and AstraZeneca bringing in more employment, demand will continue with exponential pressure on prices.

The announcement that capital gains tax (CGT) will be imposed on future gains made by non-residents who sell their non-primary residential property in the UK will have a marginal effect in our area in contrast to prime central London stock. What it may well do here – and elsewhere in home hot-spots across the country – is trigger the release of some good quality stock in to the market place ahead of its introduction in April 2015.

By mid-year last year, we were looking at six to seven per cent increase in capital values in central Cambridge in the previous twelve months to June. Year end number crunching continues for 2013 but the suggestion is this level has at least been matched, if not exceeded in the second half of the year.

New build continues to add to the city’s stock – both centrally and on the fringes. This year should finally see out-of-the-ground development at the new settlement of Northstowe.

Centrally, the take up rate of brand new homes off-plan continues to impress. Regency Villas, a boutique development overlooking Parker’s Piece, achieved 100 per cent off-plan reservations just four days after launch.

These rates of reservations are not unexpected in the city centre although there’s a squeeze on future availability of such central locations with most sites build-complete or well on their way to so being.

These high-end, niche new-builds have been watched keenly by those investing in buy-to-let as well as young professionals and escape-to-the city more mature occupiers looking for the kind of revamped metropolitan-influenced, car-free option lifestyle now taking shape in our growing city.

What goes on in any city’s prime residential market always has a ripple effect through all its tiers – whether that be sales or lettings.

The city’s second railway station – scheduled to become operational in 2015 – is likely to boost the market and lift values, in the mid-to-long term, on that side of the city and those related, northern fringe villages such as Impington, Histon and Waterbeach.

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