Foreword, by Tom Russell, Managing Partner
As we enter the second half of 2021, this is the perfect time to reflect on a successful six months and look forward to what we can expect in the future. Our team continues to work extremely hard in spite of the ongoing Covid-19 restrictions to deliver our outstanding service to all our clients.
Our report from Q1 2021 stated our optimism for the year ahead thanks to the market performing strongly and good progress being made across our development portfolio. Now that we have passed the half way mark of the year it is clear that positivity was well-placed. Property prices are rising rapidly, rents have remained strong and our own developments are progressing well – including Oxygen which is approaching completion.
It seems that every week brings further confirmation that the property market is growing fast. News from Halifax this month showed that the average house price had increased by 9.5% over the year to the end of May, representing the strongest growth for seven years.
Month-on-month, the latest report from Hometrack shows that property values have increased by an average of 4.1% compared to the same point a year ago, with cities like Manchester (6.8%) outperforming the rest of the country by some distance. It has been known for a long time that the London market is not what it used to be – instead the Manchester market has taken over as the number one property destination.
The latest Rental Price Tracker from Rightmove shows that the rental market is following a similar path. While rents in 65% of London have fallen below the level they were at five years ago, the North West has seen an average rental rise of more than 15% over the same period. Likewise, London’s average rent has fallen by more than 7% over the last year compared to a rise of 4.4% in the North West.
With the above in mind, it is no surprise to see that tenancy rates have remained high in our completed developments – including AXIS, Manhattan and Park Gate. The appetite for luxury city centre rental homes continues to grow, and we are anticipating demand increasing even further as the buildings establish themselves even more in the market.
Thank you as always for your continued support. We can’t wait to share further success with you over the second half of 2021 and beyond. Please enjoy this construction update and don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions.
Contents - In progress developments
Internal fit out works are progressing well across all three towers of Oxygen, with a number of units having gone through their final snagging, cleaning and client inspections in June. Furthermore, the external works and the fit outs of the communal areas, including the Spa Level, continues on programme.
This development is entering its final stages of completion and we are excited by how it is taking shape.
Final decoration and carpet tiles have been completed in the corridors of levels 4 to 7. Ongoing final fire stopping measures and ceiling grid systems are also being installed to these floors, along with BT Openreach and Clear Fibre infrastructure across the site.
The reception and upper mezzanine level which will host communal lounges and the cinema room are seeing the installation of flooring, final glazing and main doors.
Floor screed and under-floor heating has been installed across the entire Spa Level. The steel arches are also being erected and M&E to the main gym, studio, changing areas and main pool hall is complete. The ceiling is also progressing on programme above the main swimming pool.
Development is progressing well. The Steel Framing System (SFS) walls are on track and the blockwork is being delivered to site on an ongoing basis.
Completing the structural steel works and the pre-cast concrete flooring will be the focus in the coming weeks and months as we complete the overall structure ahead of further works progressing.
Works commenced on site at the start of April with an enabling package to clear the old foundations and potential obstructions, undertake the archaeological watching brief required under planning, and get the site ready for piling. A historic well was found during the works which was notified and dealt with in accordance with Environment Agency guidelines.
Piling works commenced in mid-May and were completed by the middle of June. The concrete frame and ground works packages will be next to commence, and the next period will see the tower crane erected, the foundations installed and the frame begin to go up.