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Barbican Flat Watch

Our quarterly roundup of the Barbican flat sales and lettings market I

t does seem perhaps, that the new builds around the Barbican, which have been put on the market with sky-high values, have helped stimulate Barbican flat sales and

rentals in that in general people get better value for their money on the Estate, at least in terms of floorspace. Also, with the City of London and its Barbican Estate team looking after the estate’s management, we at least have a reasonably predictable service charge regime, and for what we get in terms of facilities and quick access to staff to help with technical problems these service charges seem very reasonable in comparison with those at many, or most, new private sector developments. Yes, nobody’s perfect and the slow –

one might say so far nonexistent – progress on the Beech Gardens refurbishment has tended to get residents’ backs up – particularly those who live in the northern Barbican blocks who are directly affected. But one can be fairly sure that this will be attended too eventually and that part of the upper podium returned to being an attractive area again. The latest news here is the matter of endless discussion on the bulletin board and in particular contributions from the chair of the Bunyan Court House group and from David Graves, one of the Cripplegate Aldermen (even though the Beech Gardens site is now in the Aldersgate Ward) have been very helpful in trying to keep residents up to date with the latest developments. A contractor has been appointed but it still appears that there is no set timeline for project completion. The major part

of the work is waterproofing which may take 62 weeks from January to complete and then replanting is due to take place thereafter, but it seems like the area will not be completed until some time in late 2015. However in case some residents are

worried about the effect on service charges, the answer is there should not be any effect as it is a City of London project, not a Barbican Estate one, although the Estate Office is being paid to manage it on behalf of the City. Meanwhile, until complete, it will remain a bit of an eyesore which may have an impact on prices in the blocks surrounding it. A contractor has also been appointed

to convert the old Barbican YMCA building into new apartments to be administered by the Barbican Estate. A meeting to view the contractor’s plans had been arranged by the time of writing, but was to be held between going to press and publication so we can’t comment yet. But given the sky high flat values on the Estate, this should be a very profitable development for the City . By the sound of things, the Beech

Gardens project, Crossrail and perhaps the new flats in the YMCA building, will all be completed in the second half of the decade, which between them could give yet another boost to Barbican valuations. Talking of which, though, prices here

have been rising at a phenomenal, some might say alarming, rate. We hear of a tower block flat being sold at around £1.6 million, while a trawl of the Estate Agents’ websites sees studios at over


£400,000, bigger and better one beds at over £800,000 and two and three beds approaching the £1 million mark. Even at these elevated levels these are still comfortably below asking prices for similarly sized flats in the newbuild Heron and Roman House developments. Indeed most Barbican Flats now seem to be selling at over £10,000 per square metre, some comfortably so, if in one of the more sought after blocks and in reasonably good condition. Whether this is sustainable or not remains to be seen, but if the upwards trend continues at the current rate one wonders how long it will take before we see a £1million one bed Barbican apartment? In my youth £1 million was a huge sum of money. Nowadays the term millionaire has been replaced by billionaire as the ultimate in personal wealth!

ESTATE AGENTS’ COMMENTS SALES Tina Evans, Group Director at Frank Harris: “Barbican sales in 2013 have been very healthy, with increases

Extensively refurbished Andrewes House 2 bed apartment under offer at Frank Harris at £925,000.

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