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Are Barbican flats undervalued? Barbican Flat Watch

2 bed Andrewes House property from

Hamptons at £695,000 R

ecently I ventured into the new Roman House apartment development by Berkeley Homes

on Wood Street, directly opposite the Barbican’s Postern mews houses, to view the show flat and find out a little more about it. One has to say the show flat is beautifully fitted out – I guess it would be as no expense will be spared to help sell the rest - but I was a little taken back to ascertain that a 400 sq ft studio is priced at around £600,000 whereas a similarly sized Barbican studio tends to fetch around £350,000 from a trawl through those on offer from the various Barbican focused estate agents.

Impression of Roman House Penthouse living area from Berkeley Homes

Slightly larger studios on the Estate are priced nearer £400,000 – and those barrel vaulted ones on the top floor of Bryer Court with a sleeping deck/study area built in in the barrel space – in effect making them something more of a one-bed than a straight studio, at around £420,000 – but these prices are hugely lower than the prices being asked for similarly sized new builds – and you could probably comfortably redesign and refurnish a Barbican studio interior to similar standards for far less than the difference in price. Studios in The Heron – also around the 400 sq ft size and named galley suites, seem to be on the market from anything from £525,000 to £685,000 depending on their location within the tower block. The same kind of price differential exists between larger Barbican flats and

the new builds – even Frobisher Crescent apartments on the market nowadays – which themselves could be considered perhaps as much of a new build as the Roman House development, are priced substantially lower.

As examples, at the top end of the scale, 3 bed flats in The Heron – admittedly those high up in the block with spectacular views – are being marketed at up to £5 million plus, but in comparison there is currently a 4-bed Shakespeare Tower flat on the 21st floor, thus with nearly comparable views, on sale by Frank Harris at £1.125 million and one in Lauderdale Tower on the 30th floor at £1.225 million. Both these Barbican tower block flats have sought after view

direction – towards St Pauls and the London Eye etc. It strikes the writer that one could construct a really remarkable interior for a fraction of the apparent £4 million plus price tag difference. It also seems that The Heron properties are on offer through a number of different agents, but whether these are resales or whether Heron is spreading sales around a bit because it is having trouble selling on its own account is uncertain. Of the local agents Hamptons does have a number on their books ranging in price from £525,000 for a 7th floor galley suite to £1.3 million for a 2 bed 12th floor apartment. Berkeley Homes’ listed top price for one of its superior upper floor apartments, but unable to boast quite the spectacular views of The Heron or the Barbican towers is still over £4 million. It just seems the new build prices are terribly out of sync with the Barbican itself. Even the nearest thing the Barbican has to a similarly-sized new build – one of the 1690 sq ft 3 bed, 3 bath penthouses in Frobisher Crescent has just been marketed by Hamilton Brooks at £1.925 million (and is under offer), which is still hugely below the kind of asking prices for similarly sized apartments in The Heron or Roman House.

But of course the prices quoted are not necessarily the prices at which the apartments will actually be sold. While occasionally Barbican flats are bid up above their asking prices, we think it


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