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Borough by borough: Sutton
Recently described as the most “normal place in Britain”, 91% of its residents say it is a great place to live. With current low property prices, it provides good entry level housing for families.
Sutton is one of the southernmost boroughs in London. It was once made up of rural villages, associated with feudal and royal estates. The ‘village feel’ persists, and places in the borough such as Carshalton, Cheam and Belmont continue to be referred to as villages. The historic development of the borough is reflected in the number of heritage areas designated as conservation areas and as areas of special local character. Described as the most normal place in Britain it has twice been chosen by the Government as one of its ‘vanguard’ areas, most recently one of 29 areas trialling NHS integration.
Although it is currently the sixth smallest borough, in terms of number of residents, it is expected to have one of the highest rates of population growth over the next decade, which at 9.8% means an additional 20,000 new residents.
Reflecting its outer location, the borough has a relatively high share of detached and semi-detached houses (at around 40% of stock). In contrast it has a low share of flats. According to the ONS Land Use Survey, Sutton has the highest proportion of land taken up by gardens at 35.1%. This coupled with the low crime rate, make it an attractive place to buy (it has an above average rate of home ownership).
Sutton has, at around £320,000, the fifth lowest house prices across London; taking into account salaries, it is the eighth most affordable borough. However, last year it had one of the highest house prices increases of 17%. This mirrors the experience of many outer boroughs.
Sutton had one of the lowest levels of residential units completed last year at just 232 and only has 277 units currently under construction. However, it has a fairly strong planning pipeline, which if all came to fruition would increase the housing stock by 13%, which would satisfy the expected increase in demand.
One of the largest schemes currently under construction is the 128 unit Sutherland House. This is owned by Criterion Capital and will be operated through its Miflats platform. This is one of a new brand of professional private rental operators, who intend to deliver a product, with a level of service and flexibility similar to that in the US home rental market. Also under construction and destined for the private rental sector is 17 Sutton Court, owned and operated by L&Q.