• Kevin Murphy

London’s Outer Boroughs : A New Life?

LONDON - Could the outer boroughs of London be the new best places to live and work? London has become with its expensive housing and congestion a challenging place to live. By moving outside office workers and residents can not only save money but have more flexibility in their work and private lives. In a recent Savills report ‘London Mixed Use Development Spotlight ‘ it was stated that London office workers want a shorter commute and a better quality less congested atmosphere with locations having more green spaces, retail, leisure and wellness centres. One aspect of the report is the analysis by Oxford Economics which showed that employment that use co-working spaces is et to increase by 20,000 people over the next five years in the boroughs outside of London which will require 1.6 million square feet of office space. Savills reports that 707,000 square feet is planned over the next four years with pre-lets mainly for large corporate firms thus leaving a large demand for Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) who prefer to have co-worker spaces. Piers Nickalls,at Savills, comments in the report: ‘In order to accommodate London’s future growth, landlords, developers and planners need to ensure that a full range of workspace at different price points is available across the city. The outer boroughs can offer occupiers far shorter commute lengths than

what many take as the norm when travelling to work in central London, however, this should not be their only USP.’ “Furthermore, whilst London has proven resilient in the aftermath of the EU referendum, there is likely to be a sustained period of uncertainty during the forthcoming negotiations. Business decisions, however, will still need to be made and the outer boroughs should cater for office occupiers who will be looking for more cost-effective and flexible real estate options that allow them to adapt swiftly to events.” As has always been the problem for London is a lack of housing as the workforce continues to grow and home prices at levels that are difficult if not impossible to afford. For 2016 almost 41,000 homes were made available, the most since the 1930’s. Estimates are that homes costing £450 per square foot make up 58% of the demand in the lower price market but only 15% at this value is expected to be available in the next five years. One of the biggest campaign issues for London Mayor Sadiq Khan was was the issue of affordable and available housing needs. Katy Warrick, of Savills London states: “There remains no room for complacency, as numbers remain a long way short of the 64,000 new homes per year required to support forecasted employment growth. Ultimately, policy intervention is required in order to reach the level of development needed as well as shifting the focus across to the lower-value markets. Going forward, the London mayor must make best use of his devolved power to bring together housing, transport and infrastructure to provide the homes and workspaces needed for London to flourish.”

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