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Barbican Flat Watch W

e keep on reading about housing market falls across the country, but happily for those looking to sell Barbican properties, or for those just keeping an eye on their property values anyway, we do seem to be insulated from the worst of any precipitous fall-off in values – at least for the time being. However, it is worth bearing in mind that a property is only worth what someone is prepared to pay for it, and a major downturn in sentiment, which has to be a possibility given the country’s, and the globe’s, economic travails at the moment, could see the situation change for the worse. But, we also note that prestige homes in London have actually been bucking any downwards trend and have even risen sharply, and while only a tiny few of the Barbican’s flats really fall into the plus £2 million prestige category, where buying is supported by the weak pound sterling bringing in wealthy East European, Middle Eastern and Asian purchasers, there is a knock-on effect filtering down and the Barbican’s location, in the heart of the City financial district, helps us substantially in this respect.

Indeed, if one looks through the local Estate Agents’ advertising in this issue, or if one checks out their websites, you will find they are virtually all desperately short of Barbican stock and are clamouring for new properties to sell. The law of supply and demand is also a key factor in property sales values and certainly at the moment demand does exceed supply and we are finding some properties changing hands at above the asking price – although whether this is purely a function of demand, or an under-estimation of the right asking price, remains a moot point.

According to property website, Zoopla, a report from Knight Frank this month commented that prices of prime London property rose by 0.9 per cent in August, contributing to annual growth of 10.5 per cent.

In total prices were seen as having risen 36.3 per cent since their recent post-credit crunch low in March 2009 and are now at a record high, 3.8 per

cent higher than their previous peak in March 2008.

But Zoopla also notes that according to London property expert Naomi Heaton, it is important to put Knight Frank's data into context, as the 36 per cent rise represents the growth since the market low, but is largely offset by the fall that was seen during the initial stages of the credit collapse of late 2008 and early 2009. Taking HM Land Registry's data for houses in London central, into account, says Zoopla, Heaton observed growth of 33 per cent following a fall of 31 per cent, so overall house prices in London are only now about the same as the spring 2008 peak, which seems to tie in with the prices being asked for many mainstream Barbican properties at the moment, although exceptional ones may well have seen bigger increases. Heaton is quoted, however, as adding

“We believe it is entirely realistic to expect price growth to continue. Our opinion has always been that the market had not over-inflated prior to the credit crunch, but was in line with long-term growth projections following a slow start to the millennium.” Another factor perhaps helping the maintenance of Barbican valuations in particular is that the cost of newly built apartments close by would seem to offer poor value by comparison with those on the estate in terms of size at least – and there are not a huge number of other residential options in the City itself –

Our quarterly review of what is happening in the Barbican flat sales and lettings markets

and certainly none with the Barbican’s open spaces which now appeal more and more to families with young children offering a safe play environment. On the lettings front there seems to be a unanimity in opinion that rents in the Barbican, as in much of the rest of London, are continuing to trend upwards with strongish demand and relatively weak availability having an impact. A recent report from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) notes that “Rental growth in London and the south has outperformed the rest of the country, though all regions have seen a pickup in rents,” According to the RICS close to 50 percent of London surveyors responding to a questionnaire reported higher rental costs across the capital, commenting that would-be first time buyers having been priced out of the property purchasing market, or otherwise unable to get a mortgage, are having to rent.

The Modern House is a specialist estate agency dedicated to the sale of 20th and 21st century homes of architectural distinction. Due to strong demand, we are currently looking for Barbican apartments and other properties of architectural interest to offer for sale.

If you are thinking of selling, or you would like to learn more about the homes that we sell across the UK and France, please visit our website or call Matt Gibberd on 08456 344068.


Two bed apartment in Ben Jonson House sold recently by Hamptons.

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