Developer Avanton intends to maximise value for a domestic audience at its south-east London block
“Value” is the topic on the lips of David Ronson, sales and marketing director at Avanton.
This £150million red brick-clad structure takes its name and inspiration from the former industrial buildings of New York’s Tribeca neighbourhood – also the reason why it’s pronounced “becca” rather than “beaker”.
The 170 apartments available for private sale within, form part of the 1,400 homes that Avanton is set to build on the five-acre site.
It’s located around 22 minutes from Canary Wharf via bus and the Jubilee line from Canada Water, but could also be on the Tube if the mooted Bakerloo line extension to Lewisham is approved.
It’s a tough time for buyers and those selling property at the moment.
The cost of living crisis and high mortgage rates present a challenging landscape to those keen to get on the ladder and those servicing that market.
As a counterweight, Avanton has come up with London @Last, a three-part package of incentives aimed at first-time buyers to encourage them to purchase a home at The BeCa.
“We’re concerned with the domestic market because you want to build a place that has a community in it – somewhere that has a soul,” said David.
“If you sell everything to overseas investors, it has only transient tenants living there.
“Our Coda scheme in Battersea is rated as one of the best places to live in south-west London and that’s because it has a community of owner-occupiers.
“That’s what we want to do with all our developments.
“Typically first-time buyers are at a disadvantage when it comes to buying off-plan.
“The least expensive units typically offer the best rental yield for investors to pick up.
“But prospective owner-occupiers, especially those feeling the pressure of the cost of living crisis are not in a position to tie up money for long periods of time without the ability to access it.
“With some developers, that could be as much as 25% of the purchase price and that’s one of the reasons we’ve created London @ Last.”
The incentives on offer are threefold, amounting to a possible £40,000 saving on a property.
Firstly, first-time buyers can exchange on a property with a 5% deposit under the scheme.
Secondly, Avanton will put in a further 5% and cover legal fees for buyers using its recommended solicitor.
This allows purchasers to take out 90% mortgages on the property rather than 95%.
Thirdly, the developer says it will guarantee a 4.99% interest-only mortgage for a year.
With rates coming down in any case, it will also likely reassess this to ensure it remains competitive.
Avanton will also pay 10% interest per year on deposit money it is holding, payable on completion.
“If your circumstances change prior to completion, we’ll give you back your money,” said David.
“If not, we’ll pay you better than a bank to hold the money for you and we’re only taking 5% as a deposit.
“It gives you the flex that, if something does happen, you have the ability to step out of the contract.”
With starting prices for one-beds at £450,000 and two-beds at £585,000, the package presents the possibility of significant savings on the initial cost of buying a home.
Avanton, however, isn’t only about deals in the short-term.
David said the design of The BeCa had taken into consideration what residents actually wanted from a home rather than stuffing it full of facilities they may not want to use or pay for through their service charge.
“We’ve been very conscious on this scheme regarding people’s affordability,” he said. “Some developers put in too many residential amenities within a block.
“We’re a little bit different. We look at what the key essentials are for people.
“At Coda, for example, we have some flexible workspace, meeting rooms, a small gym and a 24-hour concierge service as well as two podium gardens.
“We completed these and the service charge has now come in at about £6 per sq ft.
“If you look at the south-west market, that’s quite affordable in contrast to some developments with all the amenities under the sun, and the charge is around £13.
“If, before you’re even looking at the mortgage, you’re being hit with £10,000 of service charge a year, your average domestic buyer can’t afford it.
“That’s why some developments are primarily bought by investors from overseas who rent out these properties to transient tenants.
“It’s one of the reasons 80% of our Coda scheme was sold to owner-occupiers who want to live there and not feel like they are being charged for amenities they are not actually going to be using.
“This can be a deterrent for people considering buying into a scheme.
“With The BeCa, we’ve ensured the service charge is as low as it possibly can be.
“We’re looking at £4.27 per sq ft and that will have a day porter, about 2,000sq ft of flexible workspace and residents’ access to three roof terraces.
“In the current market, you have to look at specific locations where buyers can see real capital appreciation. Old Kent Road is the cheapest place you can buy in Zone 2.
“Ultimately Ruby Triangle will become an extension of London Bridge and Bermondsey, where you have some of the best lifestyle amenities in London.
“As the whole wider South Bermondsey regeneration takes place, you’ll see 20,000 new homes, 10,000 jobs, it’s going to change the place massively.”
Even with all that change, Avanton is also addressing any concerns about connectivity with a further incentive.
It’s offering buyers a free electric bike on completion, or the cash equivalent off the purchase.
Find out more about The BeCa here
- Jon Massey is co-founder and editorial director of Wharf Life and writes about a wide range of subjects in Canary Wharf, Docklands and east London - contact via firstname.lastname@example.org