The year may have got off to a damp start, but the property market certainly hasn't.
That undoubtedly explains just why we've been so exceptionally busy here at Kerr & Co.
The headline news on the sales front is that the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveal that property prices around the country rose broadly in line with inflation last year, except in London where they jumped 12.3%. Nationally, the average house price rose by 5.5% in the year to December 2013, passing £250,000 for the first time.
This landmark rise in average house prices has prompted the Chartered Institute of Housing, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, mortgage broker Coreco, and HowToHomeBuy.co.uk among others to join in the annual pre-Budget ritual of calling for Stamp Duty reform
Looking to the future, Savills predicts that London's property market will see house prices rise by almost a quarter in the next five years. Inner London boroughs will see a growth of 23.1% and prices in other areas of the capital will rise by 22.7%. The research describes 2014 as 'the year of the super suburbs' between central London and the commuter belts; growth here is continuing at a faster pace than in inner London and the home counties.
There's plenty going on in our own super suburbs of Shepherds Bush and Hammersmith as well. The regeneration projects continue apace. Phase two of Westfield is already well under way, bringing 600,000 square feet of new retail space, together with more than 1,500 homes, and 6,700 permanent jobs.
John Lewis is, of course, the centrepiece of the expanded site. Interestingly, the Westfield branch will place a greater emphasis on home departments such as furniture, rugs and lighting than in most stores, because west Londoners spend more on their flats and houses than shoppers elsewhere in Britain, according to the managing director of John Lewis.
The new store will include an outdoor dining terrace with views over the former BBC Television Centre which is also being transformed into a mixed use development. We're heavily involved in these and similar developments; we know that they can only enhance the already considerable appeal of our area.