Westminster & Pimlico

Westminster & Pimlico
 
Full of character

17 November 2016, by Gaby Day

Westminster and Pimlico are well located and characterful locations that offer relative value to their more established prime neighbours

 

The changing face of Westminster and Pimlico has created the opportunity for them to become the next coveted area of prime central London. Redevelopment around Victoria and along the river is creating a new place to live rather than just work, and attracting new residents into a broad range of property styles.

Westminster has a long history, with the construction of Westminster Abbey in 1065 and becoming home to the English Parliament in the 13th century. Its housing is particularly varied combining Georgian houses and Victorian mansion flats with post-war purpose-built blocks of flats and more contemporary prime developments. These span from Victoria and south of St James’s Park, across Westminster and along the River Thames.

Pimlico’s stock has similarly characterful housing, with Regency architecture and garden squares particularly popular alongside post-war developments.

There has been a significant move to redevelop the area, with an emerging residential market surrounded by improving amenities, good transport links and continual commercial investment.

The architecture and centrality of Westminster and Pimlico mirrors already established prime locations, such as Marylebone and Chelsea, though its average prices are much better value. With its current relative affordability, the ongoing regeneration of the area has the potential to transform it into the next sought-after destination of prime central London.

FIGURE 1

Westminster & Pimlico sales market in 2016*: A look at what sales happened and at what value

 
Figure 2

Source: Savills Research using Land Registry / *12 months to July 2016

Property Prices

Westminster and Pimlico have traditionally had a strong residential market, and new developments and improved lifestyle benefits are creating a high-value prime market that offers a credible alternative to its more expensive neighbours. In the 12 months to July 2016 the average sale price for Westminster was only £1.40m compared to Belgravia’s £2.38m, according to Land Registry. Pimlico provides even better value with an average price of £970k over the same period.

Flats and Houses

Due to the nature of the housing stock in the area, flats are far more dominant than houses in both the Westminster and Pimlico market. As such, demand for houses when they come to the market is high, often regardless of market conditions.

In the 12 months to July 2016 the average price of flats across both areas was £1.15m compared to £2.46m for houses. However, there is a large variance in values between the two markets. Flats in Pimlico sold on average for £860k across the same period, whilst the average sale price for flats in Westminster was considerably higher at £1.34m.

The mansion flats of Westminster offer lateral space, whilst the much sought-after townhouses provide room to grow. As the residential market in the area expands, we may see increased demand for more spacious property, particularly as the nature of buyer perhaps moves from a discretionary, domestic second home user to a more varied owner-occupier.

FIGURE 2

What would the same property sell/rent for on our featured roads?

 
Figure 1

Source: Savills Research / *Per week

Rental Market

Westminster and Pimlico both have mature rental markets, with the private rented sector increasing by almost 15,000 households across the borough in the decade between the last two censuses.

Westminster’s median monthly rent of £2,700 offers relative value compared to its more expensive neighbours, and this price differential consistently attracts tenants to the area. Likewise, Pimlico’s rental market is still good value with a monthly median rent well below the borough average at just over £2000, and this affordability is driving demand in the area amongst working professionals.

Demand

Across both the Westminster and Pimlico markets there is a high level of second home buying. Between 2014 and 2016, over three-quarters of prime buyers were purchasing an additional property, compared to an average of 55% across the whole of prime central London.

With recent changes to stamp duty aimed at tempering buy-to-let activity, and increasing conversion of commercial units to residential in the area, the proportion of buyers purchasing a main residence could be set to increase as the residential market expands.

In the prime rental market, there is strong international demand with non-UK tenants accounting for 69% of the market. Tenants in Pimlico are particularly attracted to the stock of older properties and those surrounding the picturesque garden squares.

Professional, scientific and tech employees currently account for the highest proportion of residents in the Westminster borough, according to Oxford Economics, and this is forecast to remain as such over the next 10 years.

Employment remains a key driver in the more local market, with 51% of prime tenants renting due to employment relocation. Increasing commercial interest and transport development around Victoria will only serve to further entice young professionals into the area.

The largest proportion of both UK buyers and tenants have consistently been moving from within the borough of Westminster. However, the area also attracts buyers initially looking in Chelsea and Belgravia by offering architecturally similar housing at considerably better value.

 

 

 

 
Westminster’s housing stock is particularly varied

▲ Westminster’s housing stock is particularly varied

placeholder

Subscribe to Savills research

 

Would you like to be notified via email about new research?