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Local insights

Islington — Summer 2021

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Islington has been one of the big beneficiaries of London’s gravity shifting eastwards over the last generation. In this time, it's climbed from being the Capital's 9th most expensive borough to its 6th. Despite this, homes on some of London’s most sought after squares can still be bought for a fraction of what they’d cost a mile further west. A decade in front of Hackney in East London’s resurgence, Islington has seen City money flow up the Holloway Road. While further south, the arrival of Crossrail will crown Farringdon as the best-connected station in the Capital.

Islington is a firm favourite with London's new money. A burgeoning tech and design sector draw in the two-thirds of buyers who come from outside the Borough. Neighbouring Hackney and Camden account for a quarter of home-hunters, but the Borough also remains one of the top three destinations for buyers leaving the heart of Zone One.

While the London market is still playing second fiddle to the country, sellers in Islington have been able to achieve an average of 98.4% of their initial asking price so far this year, up on every year since 2016. It's a similar story across the rest of London too, where despite much talk of migration out to the country, London sellers are achieving more of their asking price than at any time in the last five years (although less than their country counterparts).

Similarly, it takes an average of 62 days to sell a home in Islington, less time than in any year since 2016, widely regarded as the last property peak. Like many neighbourhoods across Inner London, time to sell here remains above the London average, although homes in the capital are still selling quickly by historical standards. However in every month so far this year, London has been the slowest region in the country to sell a home.

Positive price growth has prevailed in Islington for the last 18 months, leaving values around 5% above 2018 levels and on par with where they were in early 2016. With prices in most Inner London Boroughs below 2017 levels and post-pandemic price growth focussed beyond Zone Three, the price gap between Inner and Outer London has narrowed. Homes in Inner London now cost 30% more than in Outer London, down from 50% in 2014.

Rental Outlook

Rents in Islington fell by 3.5% over the last year, a smaller drop than in most other Inner London neighbourhoods. The largest falls have been recorded by smaller flats without access to any outside space. While larger homes which can boast space for a home office and a garden command higher rents than they did at the start of the pandemic.

Tenants come to Islington from right across Central London, but nearly three-quarters were living in the Borough already. Typically these are people who are moving out of a flat share and into their own place, or they're up-sizing in an area they love. Falling rents over the last year have shrunk the differential between a one and a two-bed flat, making up-sizing more affordable.

Inner London remains the only region of the country where rents are falling, although there are some signs this trend may be starting to reverse. Inner London rents stand 16% below where they were at the same time last year, a reduction from 20% earlier in the year. How close rents return to pre-pandemic levels is likely to be determined by the scale and pace with which office workers return to their desks and the unlocking of international borders. We expect Inner London rents to return to pre-pandemic levels by the middle of 2022.

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