Property: Give them a garden, squeeze in a gym

The demand has made buyers more flexible about where they will move to
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Indy Lifestyle Online
The yuppie flat-dwellers of a decade ago have given way to thirtysomethings who prefer houses, according to Savills' 10-year review of the central London market.

Buyers are older, want more space and greenery and are prepared to push out the boundaries to find it. The greatest change has been the rise in approval ratings of Notting Hill, up from 19 per cent to 69 per cent. Chelsea, Knightsbridge and Kensington are still regarded as the most desirable areas, but the growing number of households with families and the shortage of good stock have pushed buyers further out to Wandsworth, Fulham and Putney.

In the 10 years which saw a boom and a slump, Docklands is back in favour. Along with Battersea, Clapham and Clerkenwell it is regarded as one of the top 10 improved areas.

Car parking is an important consideration, whether residents' parking, garaging or off street, even though 76 per cent wanted to be close to the Underground.

Some 75 per cent wanted to be close to shops, with those in the 25 to 44 age group citing good schools as crucial.

Another big change has been the trend towards working from home. More than 25 per cent sampled worked at home for more than one week per month and a third worked between one and five days per month at home. More than 20 per cent of those buyers in the survey came from the financial sector. Since this figure was 39 per cent in 1988 the broadening out could be seen as a sign of stability. Not surprisingly, given the recent performance of the City, one in five people were cash buyers and only one in 20 were looking to borrow over 90 per cent.

Those looking to buy a property worth more than pounds 1m needed to borrow on average 22 per cent of the value. Those looking to spend less than pounds 100,000 were seeking a loan of around 79 per cent. Savills sees the higher ratio of savings becoming a feature of the market.

For those who work in the City and haven't been seduced by a five-bedroom, two-bathroom, detached house the Lexington in City Road has just launched its final phase of penthouses. Metropolis Development's revamped office block, once the home of this newspaper, has been transformed. Two thirds of the flats are sold, many of those being off plan. Two of the last remaining penthouses have been created out of the curve of the pagoda roof into double-height living rooms.

A further five penthouses on the adjacent lower block have views over Bunhill Fields. The block has a landscaped courtyard, underground car parking and a gymnasium. Prices start at pounds 230,000; penthouse flats from pounds 355,000 to pounds 550,000. Sales office 0171-250 0404.

The great dilemma for those wanting to sell substantial houses and move into something smaller is - what to do with the furniture? Parkbury in Branksome Park, Dorset is being marketed by Artesian Developments as perfect for older couples who need flats with big rooms for their belongings.

The 12 apartments and two penthouses have been build on the site of a grand house burnt down in the 1980s. The once-beautiful but now completely overgrown gardens will be fully restored.

Each apartment has a large reception and dining room, fully fitted kitchen, a master suite and two further bedrooms. The penthouse features an additional breakfast area and a balcony. Prices range from pounds 242,500 to pounds 345,000. Agents Stephen Noble Lane Fox: 01202 557766.

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