Loft property

By Stella Bingham

Loft living is the success story of the design-conscious Nineties. The concept is simple. Take an old warehouse, industrial or commercial building, do up the common parts and divide the rest up into big empty spaces. Buyers start with a blank canvas to paint their fantasies on.

"A lot of architectural lessons have been learnt as a result of lofts. Wooden floors, glass block walls, stainless steel units, big airy rooms - all typical of lofts - are now going into modern buildings," says David Salvi of agents Hurford Salvi Carr in loft-rich Clerkenwell, central London.

Lofts currently on his books include nine large shells priced from pounds 189,500 in the Art Deco Beauchamp Building behind High Holborn. "There will never be a problem selling lofts but of course when you come to sell, you are not selling a shell, you are selling a flat. That market still has to be tested."

But Sarah Shelley of Knight Frank's Wapping office in London's Docklands has plenty of experience reselling lofts. She first sold empty shells in 1981 when they were called warehouse conversions, and laughs at the idea that they are a Nineties phenomenon. "Everyone thought we were completely mad to try to sell space with no kitchen or bathroom. Now people are buying what I first sold then and demand is good."

The golden rules for loft or warehouse buyers who hope to sell at a profit is not to spend too much on fitting out and not to be too eccentric. "If space allows a second bedroom, have it," advises David Salvi.

Some developers are so confident of the continuing appeal of lofts that they are not only selling them ready-fitted but are building brand new ones.

The Manhattan Loft Corporation sold shells in Clerkenwell and in the heart of Soho but Bankside Lofts is a mixture of old and new, shell and fitted flats. "Our in-house design team produce the product so that you can buy and live in a loft without having to become a part-time property developer," says marketing director Harry Downes. Prices for the fourth phase, to be launched in January, start at pounds 180,000.

There have been few resales on earlier sites, "But two people who sold recently did very well indeed. The flats tend to be beautifully done up."

Urban Splash launched the lofts concept in the North West with fitted flats in Manchester and Liverpool. "We take an inner city building and create open plan flats highlighting such features as exposed brick and beams. Our input is modern and contrasting," says project coordinator Fiona Woodward.

"We pitch to first-time buyers who want a modern home and lifestyle in the city centre. It's a different product and its 20 per cent cheaper because we do everything in house and its often grant aided to help people to move back to the city centre. The few that have resold have gone very well."

Lofts in Smithfield Buildings, a former department store in Oldham Street, Manchester start at pounds 40,000.

Discover more property articles at Homes and Property
Life and Style
Angel Di Maria is shown the red card
Roger Federer after his win over Tomas Berdych
Life and Style
News in briefs: big pants in 'Bridget Jones's Diary'
fashionBig knickers are back
James Milner is set to sign for Liverpool this week despite rival interest from Arsenal
sportReds baulk at Benteke £32.5m release clause
The controversial Motor Neurone Disease Association poster, featuring sufferer Michael Smith, has drawn a series of angry complaints
newsThis one has been criticised for its 'threatening tone'
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: European Sales Director - Aerospace Cable & Wire

£100000 - £125000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As a top tier supplier to the...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Project Manager

£17100 - £22900 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the North West's leading...

Recruitment Genius: IT Support Technician

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an intermediate help de...

Recruitment Genius: CNC Turner

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This long established manufactu...

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral