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Canary Wharf — Autumn 2022

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The opening of the Elizabeth Line has redrawn the geography of London, perhaps no more so than at Canary Wharf. By cutting journey times in half, Crossrail has effectively stretched zone one eastwards, meaning it’s now faster to get from E14 into Central London than from many places further in. Locally, the new links have sparked a development boom around the new destination station, nudging E14’s centre of gravity northwards.

Canary wharf — Where movers come from
Canary wharf — Where movers come from


The last decade has seen CanaryWharf start making the transitionfrom business district toneighbourhood, a trend which hasrapidly accelerated postpandemic.Londoners are puttingdown roots in what is a newquarter of the capital, turning thepage on a new chapter in itshistory. This shift has played outacross its shopping centres, withsupermarkets and delicatessensreplacing places designed only foroffice workers to grab lunch.

The opening of Crossrail hascemented Canary Wharf’s linksinto Central London by cuttingjourney times in half. This hasattracted a new breed ofEastender who works in Central London, but heads home on aneastbound tube - the opposite ofwhat Wharf workers have donefor three decades. Meanwhile thereturn to the office for at least acouple of days a week meansmore buyers registered hereduring the first eight months of2022 than in the whole of 2021.

Canary Wharf's glass and steelElizabethan style is unique to thiscorner of the capital, perhapsunsurprisingly making CanaryWharf particularly attractive toHongkongers. E14 ranks withinthe top 5 places among HongKong buyers anywhere in London,with twice as many looking locallytoday than any other overseasnationality.

While E14's appeal to Hongkongers isrelatively new, its historic internationalties means Canary Wharf holdsappeal across the globe. Just under30% of buyers come from outsideGreat Britain. The big banks ties toWestern Europe and America meanwould-be buyers typically come fromacross the pond or channel withoutchanging job. The recent strength ofthe dollar has swayed someAmericans away from renting, andtowards buying.

House prices locally are up 1-2%over the last year and areapproaching their late 2016 peak.Growth has been supported byrelatively low stock levels which havebeen sliding since mid-2021. Todaythere are a fifth fewer homes on themarket compared to pre-pandemicdays, with an increasing number ofhomeowners opting to concludesales off-market. Here, buyers arepaying a premium to ensure homesaren't more widely advertised.


This year has seen rents across zones one and two rapidly recover the groundthey lost in 2021. Annual rental growth across Inner London peaked at 35%over the summer, but has since slowed slightly. This puts rents just above pre-Covid levels and on par with where they were in 2018. The current pace ofgrowth means they're on course to surpass their previous peak by early 2023.

While Crossrail has long been bakedinto the sales market, it’s openinghas only recently attracted theattention of would-be tenants. Thenew links have opened E14 to theeyes of renters working in CentralLondon, or even further West, whowouldn’t previously have venturedoutside zone one.

With around half as many homes torent compared to a year ago, askingprices in E14 are routinely beingexceeded. And once tenants havesecured a place, they are stayingput. Average initial contract lengthshave risen to around 15 months,while tenants are readily agreeing todouble-digit increases on renewal.

The start of this year coincided withan upturn in the internationalmarket, both from corporaterelocations and overseas students.With the return to the officereaching a new normal, there'sbeen a renewed willingness frombanks to bring over mid to high levelstaff from Central Europe and India.

Meanwhile, the student market hasshifted eastwards with risingnumbers from South and East Asiasettling locally for when they studyin Central London universities. In atight market they are putting down12-18 months rent up front and arewilling to sign longer contractswithout break clauses.

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