Up or down? Mid to long term prospects remain positive

Are Barbican flat prices coming down or not?  Anecdotally it does appear that properties are taking longer to sell and some vendors have been reducing asking prices accordingly, but we see little sign of any serious general degradation in apartment values.  The froth may have come off the top of the asking price expectations, but this could be considered a dose of reality after some fairly spectacular increases.  Nevertheless, gone are the days, at least for the time being, of sealed bids and properties selling within hours of hitting the market.  The Barbican flat market goes though times like this at pretty regular intervals, but is usually quick to recover.

So saying though we may well be in something of a hiatus period and remain there for the next year or so.  However, by the end of the decade – only around two years away from when this magazine issue comes through your letterbox – most of the uncertainties regarding Brexit should have fallen away and Crossrail 1 (the Elizabeth Line), which runs directly under the Estate, should have been up and running for a full year.  Crossrail brings Barbican properties easy access to a high speed east-west rail link – an additional transportation improvement that can only benefit property values for a residential complex which already has some of the best public transport links anywhere in London.

We already have north-south and east-west underground rail links, are relatively close to main line stations serving the east and southeast, not forgetting the  Great Northern Railway commuter lines out of Moorgate – and within pretty easy reach of the main northern rail termini, let alone within an easy walk of the main city centre business and legal districts.   In short the Barbican Estate is enormously well-positioned to see continuing property value growth for the foreseeable future.

And then there is the Culture Mile, although whether we will see the likely full benefits of this until the end of the 2020s, assuming funding becomes available for all the aspects of this, remains to be seen.  But long term it is yet another enhancement for our area of London which should prove to be positive for Barbican property owners, as has already been the high quality of the existing cultural facilities on our doorsteps.

Another positive sign is the plethora of new restaurants and bars – and hotels – opening close by – an indication that the City North-Clerkenwell-Shoreditch- Hoxton area is becoming trendy enough to attract the younger generation too.  Property prices may be at the high end for this clientele, but the amount of disposable income which seems to be available amongst the younger City crowd, never cease to amaze.

The age of the estate might normally be considered a value-limiting factor, but the durability of its construction should keep it in good repair for many years to come.  Construction is solid and walls are thick, meaning soundproofing between apartments is as good as you are likely to find anywhere.  The plethora of new office blocks being built around our city oasis, will lead to further demand for near-work accommodation and although other residential blocks are being/ have been constructed in the City, they seldom seem to offer advantages in space and facilities over our existing apartments which lend themselves to some exciting refurbishment options.  The Barbican Estate was constructed for the long term and has many, many years yet of life left, and of value growth, before it is destined to crumble into obscurity.  Perhaps it never will!

ESTATE AGENTS’ COMMENTS

Sales

 Nick Scott at Scott City: We are seeing an increasing number of enquires for our Barbican apartments. Many owners have accepted that we find ourselves in a very different market place from eighteen months ago and have priced their properties accordingly.  This has encouraged activity which we hope will result in more sales for the last quarter of this year. The Barbican continues to be popular and a desirable place to live with many new clients being introduced to the Estate weekly. Should you be considering selling please do not hesitate to contact me. nick@scottcity.london

Tom O’Halloran at Thomas Michael: While a slower market continues, there are motivated buyers out there and sales will be agreed if flats are brought to the market at a realistic and sensible price level. Political uncertainty and increased stamp duty for second homes and those sold for close to and above £1 million have had an effect on the prime London market; however, it is my view that after substantial price rises for 7 years post the financial crisis there was always going to be a plateauing and retraction at some stage and because of this some buyers will be taking a ‘wait and see’ approach. As I have commented previously, the desirability of the Barbican as a place to live and the quality of life offered, which has contributed to the soaring prices in recent years, remain the same and this agency is well placed to promote them.  If you would like to discuss the market further please get in touch. www.thomasmichael.co.uk

Glen Cook at Hamilton Brooks: We are now in the middle of November and the market has been pretty much as expected, a little quieter in September than normal, but activity definitely picked up mid -October and currently is busy for this time of year.  I believe this will continue  up to Christmas. I am also expecting a busy New Year period. As of today we have not seen the 22 November Budget, but we are hoping for some positive Stamp Duty changes. Looking forward I don’t see any price growth in the next 12 months.  I think activity will continue as normal. www.hamiltonbrooks.co.uk

Tina Evans at Frank Harris: Well it’s been a busy couple of months but we are now suffering from a shortage of flats to sell, prices have eased slightly and lending has become a little more expensive. Whether the Chancellor’s new budget will provide any market stimulation remains to be seen.  I would also like to advise existing residents that they should be considering extending their leases, it is a very simple process, please contact the estate office for the pack which will explain it in more detail or contact me directly.  We would also like to wish all the Barbican residents a peaceful and happy Christmas and a prosperous and healthy 2018.  www.frankharris.co.uk

Alex Childs at AW Childs: We have noticed an increase in applicants registering with properties to sell however the number of cash and unencumbered buyers has decreased. Transaction numbers are lower, however certain properties are still selling at realistic market prices. In this market we would advise home owners to obtain at least three independent market appraisals to ensure you are choosing an agent who provides the correct advice. www.awchilds.co.uk

 

Lettings

Nick Scott: The lettings market remains good, there is good demand for all types of Barbican apartments with limited supply. We have a list of potential tenants looking to live in the Barbican only.  If you’re considering renting your flat please do not hesitate to contact us. property@scottcity.london

Tom O’Halloran: The lettings market has remained buoyant throughout this year and a number of our flats have commanded higher rents than years previous. The January market in particularly is busy for studios and 1 beds as single professionals come from overseas to begin secondments and new roles and want to be within walking distance of work. As usual, we have a number of applicants looking for Barbican and City flats. If you would like a rental appraisal or just a discussion on the lettings process I am always pleased to speak.

Glen Cook: We experienced a busy Lettings market in September.  We let most types of flat.  Tower flats were  popular due to the shortage of supply.  Presentation is still key.  Rental values in flats presented in dated condition/décor/furnishings will always be depressed and remain difficult to let in any market, so fresh paint, de-clutter,  old style furnishings/curtains/nets to be removed. It’s better to let unfurnished than have dated or tired furnishings/flooring/curtains but call us in first and we can give an honest assessment.

Mark Scoging at AW Childs: With an unpredictable sales market rentals have strengthened with more homeowners deciding to let their properties. We have also seen an increase in tenants renewing their leases and landlords being more inclined to increase rental prices. As usual this is a very busy time with people looking to move before Christmas.