Divide and prosper
Flats are a growing market, says Rosalind Russell
Saturday 12 October 1996
A one-bedroom apartment in Gayhurst will cost pounds 97,500, say agents GA, for the 100 years remaining on the 120-year lease.
Buying a leasehold flat is now less of a lottery, thanks to the new changes to the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987. Initially hailed as the leaseholders' charter, the Act was found to be shot through with holes. While it gave tenants the right to first refusal of their freehold, the freeholder didn't face a penalty if he thumbed his nose at the Act. Now he does.
A few lunatic freeholders and residents who quibble about their share of the roof repairs will always be with us. And anyone considering buying a flat should still take particular interest in the efficiency of the managing agents. But flats still have advantages over houses for young professionals, older people trading down from an expensive house, or as a rental investment. While lenders won't generally offer a mortgage on an ex-council tower block or flats above shops, the rest of the flat sales market is enjoying a mild boom. Especially in Birmingham and in London where there is busy regeneration in areas like Bermondsey, Clerkenwell and Soho.
Paying pounds 300,000 for a flat in the centre of Birmingham - albeit a penthouse - might have seemed optimistic a couple of years ago. But that's the price being asked on one of the flats soon to be completed by Crosby Homes next to Birmingham Symphony Hall. Symphony Court, with octagonal domed towers and private terraces overlooking the canal, residents' gym, underground parking and high security, has drawn buyers back to the city centre.
John and Vanessa Clarke sold a house in Walsall and bought a two-bedroom flat in the block, so they could be near their daughter Louise, 16, who will be studying in the city. Others buyers are finding the flats an attractive investment, with rentals on a two bedroom apartment achieving a far higher percentage yield than anything currently offered by banks or building societies. For Crosby the development has proved one of their most successful. With 112 apartments sold and only 30 left to sell, asking more than a quarter of a million for a penthouse doesn't seem so daft.
In London, Strutt & Parker is selling a one-bedroom, second floor flat above Terence Conran's Mezzo restaurant in Soho for pounds 310,000. In suburban Putney, that would buy a three-bedroom house, but a much longer commute to work.
Says Charles Peerless of Winkworth's West End office: "Buyers in Soho and Covent Garden tend to be ABC1, mid-thirties, affluent, from bankers to creative. Fitzrovia is the best value for money, being quieter than Covent Garden but having more life than Bloomsbury. It's not a family area, which is something our business reflects... we don't open on Saturday."
Prices are sufficiently buoyant for Winkworth to have recently sold a one-bedroom flat, directly opposite a 24-hour shelter for the homeless, for pounds 150,000. A one bedroom, fourth-floor walk-up in King Street, Covent Garden has just sold for pounds 185,000. In the three weeks between compiling the latest copy of the Winkworth property guide and it hitting the stands in branches, the West End office has sold everything on their page bar two flats.
"Look for the well-run blocks," says Peerless. "Bloomsbury's Bedford Court Mansions is one of the best because it's part freehold. Ridgemount Gardens where a four-bedroom flat will cost around pounds 265,000, is also very popular. Of the new developments," says Peerless, "the ones which are selling fastest feature contemporary design, wooden floors and chrome fittings." It's a perfect description of a re-developed printing works at one Dufferin Avenue, near Moorgate tube station.
Of the eight apartments put on the market a fortnight ago, only three are unsold. Architect/developer Roger Black has aimed at style-conscious buyers likely to be impressed by the German column radiators, ash flooring and "pod" bathrooms, Prices range from pounds 175,000 to pounds 215,000; the most expensive has a timber-deck roof terrace with views over the City. Selling agent is Hurford Salvi Carr.
Actor Alexei Sayle is leading the way in Bermondsey, buying into the new Tanners Yard apartments, a few minutes from Tower Bridge and close to where the new Jubilee Line extension will run. More than half have been sold or reserved in the old warehouse building. The developers say their buy profile is young, upwardly mobile professionals. Prices range from pounds 139,500 to pounds 199,950.
Shad Thames, a previously unloved area south of Tower Bridge, is also being talked up. A former tea and coffee warehouse in Boss Street is being turned into 109 flats, due to be ready for Christmas.
Tom Marshall of selling agent Cluttons says: "The refurbishment includes glass lifts, glass viewing platform with panoramic views." More sandblasted brickwork - the woodchip of the Nineties - cast-iron columns, wooden floors and industrial-height windows.
03 July 2015 08:30 PM
Andrew Hagger reveals how to get the most from your plastic
03 July 2015 08:30 PM
One reader purchased the Post Office Travel Money Plus Card for a motoring holiday but discovered it can't be used at self-service petrol stations or autoroute toll booths
26 June 2015 10:30 PM
30 June 2015 05:56 PM
UK consumer groups complained that British holidaymakers face another two years of mobile phone misery before the law comes into effect
26 June 2015 10:30 PM
The P2P industry must do more to shake off an unjustified image of being too complex and risky for the everyday saver, says Andrew Hagger
26 June 2015 10:30 PM
Six of the energy company's customer have cause to blow a fuse this week
26 June 2015 10:30 PM
Derek's portfolio is currently suffering because of his failure to be more ruthless
25 June 2015 08:01 AM
One debtor was given a repayment plan that would have taken 125 years to repay
Challengers are smashing the traditional high street banks when it comes to offering decent savings rates
23 June 2015 11:46 AM
Ignore the new breed of savings institutions and you'll lose interest
NatWest pledged five years ago it wouldn't close the last bank in town. Now villagers have been told the branch shuts in September
23 June 2015 05:02 PM
When the last bank closes, local shops quickly go out of business
19 June 2015 10:00 PM
19 June 2015 10:00 PM
Questions of Cash: The paperwork wasn't right so I was left high and dry with a broken washing machine
19 June 2015 11:00 PM
A reader encountered a problem with a Currys washer/dryer care plan
19 June 2015 10:30 PM
Interest rates have never been cheaper if you want a five-figure personal loan but for lower-value loans it's a very different picture
18 June 2015 12:56 PM
Thousands still waiting for payments to go through
- 1 Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
- 2 People all over the world are getting semicolon tattoos to draw attention to mental health
- 3 Van driver who comforted Clark Carlisle and called 999 after suicide attempt dies age 24
- 4 James Blunt was special guest on the highest-rating Top Gear episode ever
- 5 The biggest first date turnoff has been revealed
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
Sickness and disability benefits could be reduced by £30 a week as part of £12bn welfare cuts
iJobs Money & Business
£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers a range of ...
£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisors are r...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree were established in 1986....
£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...
Day In a Page
Previously two semi-detached properties, this five-bedroom home is spread over three floors with a large breakfast kitchen, orangery, office and gym on the second floor.
This five-bedroom home enjoys countryside views over the Blyth estuary to Southwold, offering flexible living space with a ground-floor annexe - ideal for use as a holiday let.
Close to the market town of Eye, this four-bedroom detached home offers a double-height living room which takes the place of the original, 19th-century, chapel nave.
Dating back to the 19th century, this four-bedroom home needs modernising. Spanning three storeys, the red-brick house has a fireplace, a small terrace and a cellar.
Just outside of Cambridge, this single-storey home offers three double bedrooms, a living room with vaulted timber ceiling and ladder steps that lead to a mezzanine study area.
This six-bedroom Georgian home is on three floors with open fireplaces, a two oven Aga, an annexe, and cottage gardens with outbuildings and a car barn.
A former coach house, Glebe Farm Stable is now a three-bedroom cottage with a double car barn, an attached office, kennels and an outbuilding that's currently used as a gym.
Located beside an impressive Victorian viaduct, this four-bedroom home has an open-plan living area that is glazed on two sides, with skylights and high ceilings.
A former furniture workshop, this three-bedroom home has high ceilings and painted brick walls, in a village setting only fifteen miles from the coast.
This five-bedroom stone townhouse features a pine staircase and an Inglenuk fireplace, double doors from the lounge give access to an enclosed courtyard.
This five-bedroom, detached home blends traditional and modern design; the sleek kitchen features a gas hob and oven set within an exposed chimney breast.
Moored in Chelsea's Cheyne Walk, this houseboat offers two double bedrooms and a teak deck that's ideal for al-fresco dining.
Surrounded by woodland, this five-bedroom manor house has plenty of outdoor storage space in the form of three converted loose boxes, two smaller outhouses and a woodstore.
This six-bedroom home is set amongst three acres of grounds. Currently a large family home, Clift Hill has potential to make a B&B or countryside retreat, subject to change of use permissions.
This Grade II-listed three-bedroom home is situated on a private road, just a short walk from the sandy beaches of Frinton-on-Sea.
Less than five miles from Malmesbury, this four-bedroom cottage comes with equestrian facilities and gardens that extend to approximately three acres.
Spanning three storeys, this late-Victorian five-bedroom farmhouse is a spacious family home with a modern interior and B&B potential.
With an original church arch, this triplex one-bedroom church conversion has a light, spacious, feel and comes with a secure off-street parking space.
This recently-refurbished three-bedroom home has bi-folding doors that lead out to a decked seating area - ideal for alfresco dining this summer.
Well-located for coastal walks and popular restaurants, this detached four-bedroom home offers views over farmland, to the Solent, the Purbecks and Bournemouth.
If you love high ceilings, school conversions like this one are bang on the money. This two-bedroom flat is minutes from Burgess Park and the foodie haven at Borough Market.
Set within a church conversion in Bermondsey, this two-bedroom maisonette combines existing features, such as original arches and brickwork, with a contemporary finish.
In the pretty market town of Bungay, this grade II-listed Mill House is arranged over four floors, offering four bedrooms and three reception areas.
This four-bedroom Edwardian home offers a combination of original features and contemporary design after a renovation by the current owners.
This four-bedroom home offers a vaulted ceiling in a breakfast room that's ideal for summer entertaining with doors that open to the patio and garden.
On the market for the first time in more than 50 years, this six-bedroom home is a project with vast potential - spread over three floors of living space.
This five-bedroom home comes with a range of outbuildings including a large barn which could be converted into a self-contained granny-flat or rental.
Surrounded by rolling countryside, this four-bedroom barn conversion comes with a self-contained, one-bedroom annexe that could serve as an office or a holiday let.
Located near Harrogate town centre, this five-bedroom Victorian terrace is arranged over three storeys while a current study serves as an optional sixth bedroom.
A ground-floor flat in a country house, located a mile from Sway; this two-bedroom home would make an ideal weekend retreat on the edge of the New Forest.
On a popular residential lane in Caterham on the Hill, this four-bedroom family home offers a secluded garden and a convenient location for local schools and public transport.
Just a short walk from Westerham green, this three-bedroom cottage has a light kitchen with exposed brickwork and double doors that lead to a south-facing garden.
In a prime spot opposite the River Thames, this one-bedroom flat has an 18sq ft reception room with glass doors that open out to a private terrace.
Set in the hills above Llanwrda Village, west Wales, this 18th-century three-bedroom farmhouse has holiday-let potential from a separate barn conversion and annexe.
This charming end-of-terrace townhouse is arranged over three floors, with two double bedrooms and a private courtyard garden located at the rear of the property.
Located in the University area, this semi-detached five-bedroom home is arranged over three floors - there's even a rear garden and off-road parking too.
Only a few minutes' drive from the charming town of Marlow, this two-bedroom home sits on the private riverside estate of Harleyford.
This detached four-bedroom home in Middleyard is arranged over two floors, with features that include a wood-burning stove and bespoke oak staircase.
In a row of eight detached Georgian residences, this five-bedroom home offers views of The Sound, Mount Edgcumbe and Cornwall from its impressive veranda and full-length balcony.
If you love cooking for friends this two-bedroom flat - complete with views of the iconic Battersea Power Station and an open-plan kitchen/dining area - will go down a treat.
Located above Grasmere village, this five-bedroom home is arranged over three floors and offers countryside views across Grasmere Lake towards Silver Howe.
This four-bedroom detached home comes with a double carport, useful workshop, garden and two walkways that offer views of the adjacent countryside.
With space for an equestrian business, a greenhouse for growing your own veg, a wine store and a gym; this five-bedroom home has all the ingredients for a country retreat.
The decked roof terrace of this two-bedroom flat is perfect for summer drinks while large windows and ample storage space make for a light and spacious interior.
Set sail for this four-bedroom farmhouse in Cowes. With five acres of land and an indoor pool, this home oozes character. There is even potential to let a one-bedroom annexe.
Surrounded by approximately 15 acres of grounds, this six-bedroom grade II-listed home has been extensively refurbished yet retains many period features.
This four-bedroom home comes with a two-bedroom cottage and commercial office, with planning to extend, in a stunning courtyard setting.
In a pretty Norfolk village, this four-bedroom family home is surrounded by landscaped gardens, with even a self-contained annex for guests.
A few miles from the seaside at Perranporth, this four-bedroom farmhouse sits amongst nine acres of idyllic grounds - including a lake and two barns used as holiday lets.
This five-bedroom home is arranged over three floors of a converted Victorian hospital, offering spectacular views of the Pentland Hills - only three miles from the city centre.