Buying in London? Try Battersea – there’s a proper property price crash going on there

The glut of new-build flats in London is finally having an effect on prices – with properties in Battersea down by 16% in the last year.


The price of new-build flats in Battersea is falling hard

It looks like it has begun. We have been telling you here for rather too long that the huge rise in the supply of new-build flats in London would eventually lead to a glut in the supply.

In the wake of the financial crisis, when the pound was weak, commodity prices were riding high and Asia looked to be booming, it made sense for every resident of every mildly corrupt regime in the world to head for the UK to stash their cash in one of the most legally secure safety deposit boxes the world has ever seen (London property).

Supply was limited, so prices rose and the first great London bubble created almost entirely with international capital kicked off. But things have started to change.

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The pound has soared (so London property is more expensive when bought by those who make their livings in other currencies). Commodity prices have plummeted something that gives anyone skimming cash from a commodity economy a little less to spend than before.

China has stepped up its campaign against corruption, with the obvious result that sales of all luxury goods exported to China have tanked (what is a brand new rabbit hutch in Battersea bought by a Chinese bureaucrat but an exported luxury good?).

And, of course, supply isn't exactly as limited as it was. In this post we counted the developments on the way in January it came to 54,000 units. The result? A new report from Lonres, compiled for Bloomberg, tells us that almost 30% of the properties on the market in London's Nine Elms district have been on the market for more than a year (it is 12% in super-prime London), says Neil Callanan on

That's a bigger problem than you might think for their owners. A lot of them put down deposits on new build properties two or three years ago, planning to flip them before they had to come up with the remainder of the sale price that way they both avoid stamp duty and (in theory) turn a quick profit. Now coming up with the remainder is tough (the Malaysian ringgit, for example, is down 30% against the pound in the last three years)* and flipping at the original price in pounds is turning out to be all but impossible.

So how bad is it? The average sale price of all apartments in the SW8 postcode has fallen by about 16% to £818,000 in the last year alone, says Foxtons. So there you have it. Nothing goes up for ever. Not even London house prices.

* Malaysian investors, bought almost third of the 866 homes in the first phase of the Battersea Power Station project, says Callanan

Merryn Somerset Webb

Merryn Somerset Webb started her career in Tokyo at public broadcaster NHK before becoming a Japanese equity broker at what was then Warburgs. She went on to work at SBC and UBS without moving from her desk in Kamiyacho (it was the age of mergers).

After five years in Japan she returned to work in the UK at Paribas. This soon became BNP Paribas. Again, no desk move was required. On leaving the City, Merryn helped The Week magazine with its City pages before becoming the launch editor of MoneyWeek in 2000 and taking on columns first in the Sunday Times and then in 2009 in the Financial Times

Twenty years on, MoneyWeek is the best-selling financial magazine in the UK. Merryn was its Editor in Chief until 2022. She is now a senior columnist at Bloomberg and host of the Merryn Talks Money podcast -  but still writes for Moneyweek monthly. 

Merryn is also is a non executive director of two investment trusts – BlackRock Throgmorton, and the Murray Income Investment Trust.