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WHY LONDONERS ARE FALLING FOR CONTEMPORARY HOMES

Once seen as a poor alternative to period property, modern homes are back in vogue. Savills latest London Waterfront Report shows that 270 schemes are planned along a 27 mile stretch of the Thames over the next five years. With jaw-dropping views and a menu of amenities, it’s no wonder Londoners have fallen in love with contemporary homes

Words: Fiona Brandhorst

Brand new properties in London exude ready-made sophistication and reflect a stress-free way of living, giving you more time to relax and enjoy the moment, especially if you have a bird’s eye view of the capital. For example, the 19th-floor roof terrace of the recently launched Goodman Penthouse by Berkeley Homes in the city has views that will leave you breathless. Three floors of highest specification living come with a prime price tag of £5m and feature the latest trend with floor to ceiling glass windows.

Savills latest London Waterfront Report shows that along the 27 mile stretch of the Thames between Richmond and Canary Wharf, 270 schemes are planned within a mile of the river over the next five years. The waterfront premium for a second-hand flat is 26.5% north of the river and 36.3% to the south in the stretch between Wandsworth Bridge and the London Eye.

Bradley Bartlett, Chestertons’ Director of Corporate Services, says many of London’s top employers are switched on to the benefits of contemporary homes for their key people in the tech and financial services sector relocating to London. ‘Only an ultra-modern, hi-tech home will do,’ he says.

The Goodman Penthouse by Berkeley Homes offers a bird’s eye view of London

The Goodman Penthouse by Berkeley Homes offers a bird’s eye view of London

Chestertons is selling a grand designs-style detached modern house set right in the heart of Islington for £3.25m. Built ten years ago, the four bedroom house offers dramatic internal spaces including an impressive triple height light-filled atrium. An integrated intelligent home-automation system enables everything from lights to TV and music to be app-controlled and programmed.

While some people will never stray from the character and aesthetic of a period building, there’s still a strong appeal for a new build home says Matthew Morton-Smith, Head of Savills Westminster and Pimlico office. ‘It can offer an easy low-maintenance option, attractive to first-time buyers, occasional users and frequent travellers alike.’

The Nova Building in the heart of Victoria, with prices starting from £1.925m, completes later this year and offers a range of contemporary one, two, three and four bedroom apartments designed with neutral tones and wood influences. ‘Buying a new apartment in an area like Victoria will also mean buying into an exciting neighbourhood with all the new restaurants, bars and shops that are opening,’ adds Morton-Smith.

New build homes in luxury developments can also offer a lifestyle like living in a luxury hotel. Martin Bikhit, Managing Director of Kay & Co adds: ‘Knowing that a member of a concierge team is on hand to take deliveries and provide 24-hour security allows them to live without the worries of maintenance that tend to come with older homes.’

For those buying off plan there are some advantages too. While you have to reserve the property with a 10 to 20% deposit, lenders won’t tend to agree a mortgage more than six months in advance of completion, so there’s more time to add to your savings pot.

Claire Packer, Partner in Strutt & Parker’s London Residential Development team, says: ‘Financial rewards from buying a new home can also be high, particularly if you buy off-plan in an up-and-coming area. If prices increase then you could make a good return on only a 10% deposit investment, even before you move in.’ Beware, though, there is also a risk that prices could drop leaving the buyer to make up the shortfall.

Financial rewards from buying a new home can also be high, particularly if you buy off-plan in an up-and-coming area

In Mayfair’s luxury new homes market, newly built premium apartments in 1985 averaged £285,000, compared to £4.25 million-£4.5 million today says a new report from Wetherell. There are now around eight to 12 new homes projects per year in Mayfair, selling at prices from £2,500 to £5,000 plus per sq ft; during the 1980s there were just a couple of new developments per year selling for just £300 per sq ft.

Top of the list for DIY-shy buyers has to be the ten-year guarantee offered by developers says Ed Mead, Executive Director at Douglas & Gordon. ‘It doesn’t cover usual wear-and-tear, but it does protect you against common problems that can unexpectedly cost buyers of period property large sums such as damp, boiler issues or replacing a roof.

Regency-style townhouses are the attraction at Cedar Place, Wimbledon Hill

Regency-style townhouses are the attraction at Cedar Place, Wimbledon Hill

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‘Buying off-plan may mean you can have input into the interior design with options often being available on flooring and kitchen specifications. New Build properties are built with individual units in mind, so the sound insulation installed gives a fantastic amount of privacy.’ And for first-time buyers it also means a chain-free sale.

New homes can attract new facilities and infrastructure such as schools, supermarkets often conveniently below the development, and improved transport links. Oliver Griffiths, Sales Manager at Jackson-Stops & Staff Richmond branch, adds: ‘New build properties benefit from much lower annual running costs with an average three bedroom semi-detached typically £780 for energy costs, compared to an improved Victorian home that costs £1,670 per year to run.’

New build properties benefit from much lower annual running costs with an average three bedroom semi-detached typically £780 for energy costs, compared to an improved Victorian home that costs £1,670 per year to run

Increasingly, you can get the best of both worlds with a huge range of new homes being converted from former industrial buildings, keeping a foot in both the past and future. Strutt & Parker is selling a one bedroom duplex apartment in the Bolton Studios, a converted artist workspace in Chelsea, with double height ceilings and smart storage solutions for £1.6m.

Meanwhile Cedar Place in Wimbledon Hill Park is a rare collection of refurbished apartments and new Regency style townhouses built by Berkeley Homes on the site of a former 19th century hospital on the market with Savills from £1.5m.

Tim Pettman, Berkeley Homes’ West London Sales Director comments: ‘Cedar Place reflects and complements the heritage of its striking backdrop and sits alongside 19 acres of mature, protected parkland that will continue to be maintained to benefit residents for years to come.’

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