Property commentary is not seeing the permanent decline of residents in Central London that experts have been warning about. Even though many people continue to work remotely, the majority of employers are aiming for a flexible approach with days in and out of the office. Some employers still have covid spacing between desks which limits the number of staff onsite. Other employers have even permanently restructured their offices with hot- spot ‘book before you come’ desk-sharing. So, instead of worrying about a City resident exodus, we should rather expect a downsizing of existing commercial leases once they lapse, and an influx of new neighbours moving into office-to- residential conversions.
One of the covid scars which will take longer to heal is the damage to retail from less physical foot traffic. We must try and buy local to keep them local but the temptation of Amazon delivery versus a walk to Robert Dyas will always remain a mental battle for me.
When I look at the true state of flat prices in the Barbican, I always start with Zoopla because you can see the actual sale prices on there.
During covid, we were all worried about everyone leaving the City and never coming back. The prices advertised did dip, but they are healthy again now.
From May 21st to Mar 22th (the latest stats available), there were 56 sales recorded. No sales in Postern, Brandon Mews, Seddon House or Frobisher Crescent. By house, 9 Sales in Defoe and Ben Johnson, 6 in Andrews, 4 In Gilbert, 3 in Mountjoy and Willoughby, 2 in Breton, Bunyan, John Trundle, Speed, Wallside and Thomas Moore, and 1 in Bryer. Lauderdale was the most popular Tower with 6 sales, followed by Cromwell with 2 and one in Shakespeare.
The total value of all sales in the period was 54.9 million which then works out to an average of almost 981 thousand. The most expensive was a Wallside house at 2.95 and the lowest was a Breton flat for 435,000.
The dates almost certainly reflect lockdown as there were 24 sales in June 2021 and only 1 in July 2021; a release after so many months of nothing. The next most popular month was September 2021 with 11 sales.
LOCAL ESTATE AGENTS’ COMMENTS
Glen Cook of Hamilton Brooks: In 35 years of selling Barbican Apartments, I have never seen a recovery like we are experiencing right now. In the last 10/12 weeks we have placed 18 Barbican Apartments under offer and more in the surrounding areas. The return to work and the second phase of the masterplan to buy a house in the country/coastal/City of London is now taking effect, boosted by the Elizabeth Line opening. We urgently need more apartments to sell – that’s the message this quarter. www.hamiltonbrooks.co.uk
Marco Fugaccia at Hurford Salvi Carr: We move into the period of the year where seasonally the residential market is in full swing. Signs over the last few months have shown how resilient the London property market can be and, whilst there is still a hint of uncertainty and cautiousness, many buyers are keen to move and find their ideal home or pied à terre. Buyers who quickly left London at the beginning of 2020 are returning. www.hurford-salvi-carr.co.uk
Nick Scott at Scott City: Increased enquires for City property are improving week by week with strong demand for the Barbican. We are seeing a continuing number of people retuning to work and with the opening of the Elizabeth Line (Crossrail) we will see more confidence in the City. www.scottcity.co.uk
Nicola Lee at Nicola Lee Ltd.: As we predicted, interest in properties for sale has only increased and it’s encouraging to see the growth in the number of serious buyers viewing and offering on our properties. There is demand in particular for type 20s and 21s. Realistic pricing is important, as well as good presentation which can help achieve a higher price or offer. With the long-awaited Elizabeth line now open and the amazing connectivity and proximity of both Farringdon and Liverpool Street, the future looks even brighter for the Barbican and property prices. We’ve been delighted to see just how many residents looking to sell are taking our advice, being some of the people who attended our enjoyable and successful Home Improvements Evening which brought together the Estate Office, Building Control Team and legal advice to help those who attended to understand the absolute importance of getting permissions in place before offering their property for sale. Whether looking to sell immediately, or not, lease extensions are pertinent as there are now only approximately 84 years remaining on the original lease, and there will be a higher premium to be paid when it drops to 80 years or below, as an additional element called “marriage value” also falls into the calculation. As approved City of London agents our lease extensions valuations are accepted and we offer this service free of charge. www.nicolalee.co.uk
Tina Evans at Frank Harris: January and February have been two terrifically busy months on sales, we particularly have a shortage of tower flats with good proceedable buyers waiting for the right flat. The City in general is busier, i believe we will see an uplift in prices this year. www.frankharris.co.uk
Eli Logavatu at Scott City: The rental market is still excellent with record rents being achieved, values now well in excess of pre covid prices. The demand continues to increase as we see more people wanting to live close to their work place. Back to work has increased our demand to a level we haven’t experienced before. We require new instructions for many waiting clients.
Glen Cook of Hamilton Brooks: It’s the same message as sales, the return to work has seen a demand increase from those not wishing to commute. Rents have gone up 30% this year alone.
Marco Fugaccia: The residential lettings market continues its bull run with rental prices now at an all-time high, a shortage of stock and an ever increasing demand will see rents increasing throughout the summer months.
Lindsay Lee at Nicola Lee Ltd.: We are coming into our busiest rental period but there are few properties available as no sooner are we listing them, than they get rented out. Most current tenants are renewing their tenancies, even with increased rents, which means that we have more rental enquiries than properties to let. It’s good news to see rental values have increased and returned to their previous highs.