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BARBICAN LIFE


Barbican Flat Watch Our quarterly review of what is happening in the Barbican housing market H


ow does one make any judgements on the experts’ views on where flat prices have gone, and are going to in the current year? There have been huge discrepancies in the performance of housing values over the past couple of year with falls of 20% or more seen in some regions, yet others have seen only marginal falls – and some pointers suggest there may even have been small rises in some areas. For example two rival mortgage lending groups saw totally different results across the country last year.


Halifax saw an


overall price fall of around 3.4%, whereas Nationwide reports a rise, albeit a small one, of 0.4%. But with big regional variations, national figures don’t necessarily mean a great deal.


In general though it does appear that the more prosperous areas of London and the South East have avoided the big price falls seen in some other parts of the country and, indeed, in some of the poorer enclaves nearer to hand, and if one takes our local Estate Agents’ views and reports the Barbican has weathered the storm pretty well so far. Yes, some of the overpricing has fallen away from the euphoric times and perhaps prices have levelled out a little, but it seems there remains a good market for Barbican apartments in the right locations, in the right conditions and at the right price. There probably won’t be many people here sitting on any serious negative equity.


But while sale prices may have been flat, rental prices have been rising, and in some cases rising quite sharply.


There


has, anecdotal evidence suggests, been a bit of a revival of interest in buy-to-let properties, perhaps brought on by low to negative interest rates in the real world. Even a 5% return looks good nowadays when you’re lucky if you can get much more than 2.5% out of a bank. Looking ahead, most experts do see a decline, or at best a flat market (no pun intended) in the current year, but few see any serious falls in micro-environments like the Barbican itself. There appears to be a steady market for Barbican apartments – even the heavily-priced new ones like those in Frobisher Crescent – while there remains a lack of stock available. Those renting properties here can expect to see even better return s too.


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 www.themodernhouse.net or call Matt Gibberd on 08456 344068.


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Estate Agents’ Comments Tina Evans at Frank Harris: We’ve seen a buoyant start to the year with a good number of sales agreed and our stock levels low. We have just set a record high on an agreed sale in a Barbican Tower and have two fabulous high floor tower flats coming to the market in the next few weeks. We are continually being asked if we think the Olympics will make a difference to prices in the area and our opinion is they won’t, the Olympics only run for a couple of weeks and there is a great deal of property nearer the site which is cheaper.


The risk to current housing values, which at the moment are at or close to the highs of 2007, will arise if strong inflation continues into 2011 and forces the Bank of England to raise interest rates. Such a rate hike would not only hamper the sales market, but also cause problems for existing owners with variable rate mortgages. Despite this conclusion, interest in residential property from investors is growing, rents have been rising steadily over the past two years, especially in London, with supply and demand dynamics prevalent.


Nick Scott at Scott City: Sales


market in the Barbican is very buoyant, many flats have gone under offer at close to the asking price, and we are still very short on stock. Enquiry levels are high and a growing confidence is still evident. There has been some bonus money being spent, more often on smaller rental


investments or second homes close to the office. If instruction levels increase I predict a busy spring and summer. Leon Stone at Hamptons International: The City market has had an extremely strong start to the year, with the levels of new buyers registering up 28% in comparison to this time last year. New instructions are up 10% for the same period, meaning that sale prices are remaining firm. That said, the market can best be described as being price-sensitive, with properties that are correctly priced attracting multiple bids within a couple of weeks – achieving the asking price or over in several instances – while those priced ambitiously or unrealistically are struggling to get viewings. The City, and the Barbican in particular, continue to attract strong interest from the international market, with one in three sales currently going to an overseas buyer, prepared to pay top prices for premium properties, as the Barbican is perceived as offering


Shakespeare Tower 3- bed apartment on sale from Frank Harris at £895,000


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