Art Deco-inspired flats at Warehaus, Hackney have a communal rooftop pool. Call 0800 043 2523
A spectacular glass-bottom rooftop swimming pool suspended above a light-filled atrium at a block of flats in London Fields, Hackney, is among the architectural highlights awaiting Easter home buyers.
Other head-turners include Canary Wharf high-rise homes with vast winter gardens offering year-round enjoyment and sweeping views, while loft-style apartments at a former ministry building in fast-changing Victoria bring a touch of Manhattan’s Tribeca district to the prized SW1 postcode.
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To find the right home in the right place at the right price, Londoners are becoming more ambitious in their property moves, often relocating to another borough or crossing the river. Estate agent Winkworth reports the main flows are from north and west London to south London, where family houses are significantly cheaper and new Overground train stations are helping to revitalise areas such as Brockley and Sydenham.
The lush sky garden at 55 Victoria Street, close to the Palace of Westminster. Call 020 7318 4677
In this buoyant market, you have to be quick on your toes to get the home of your choice in your preferred location, because often there is another purchaser ready to step in. It is not uncommon for hundreds of people to register for a new development prior to its launch. Despite the capital’s construction boom, new homes are in short supply, particularly finished properties, which is driving buyers towards off-plan deals up to three years ahead of completion.
Try not to be dazzled by glitzy sales suites with mock-ups of what the finished home will be like. Developers are past masters at using aspirational marketing to hype a location or gloss over so-so design or a gritty urban address by offering a few lifestyle extras such as gym, concierge and car club.
Here, we explore the cream of the crop of the Easter offerings, the developments with a difference.
1. BEST FOR HIPSTERS
Warehaus, a scheme of 30 flats inspired by Art Deco industrial architecture, brings urban glamour to the Hackney heartland. Stand-out features include not only that glass-bottom swimming pool set in a wildflower garden with seating at the top of the building, but also refrigerated storage for supermarket and grocery deliveries, managed by a 24-hour concierge.
From £1.1 million: loft-style flats with terraces at 55 Victoria Street. Call 020 7318 4677
2. BEST FOR DESIGN BUFFS
When developer Alchemi acquired a concrete slab office block up the road from the Palace of Westminster, it decided to remodel rather than bulldoze the building to make the most of the five-metre wide window bays and create 54 open-plan, loft-style apartments.
Re-clad in Danish charcoal-fired bricks and with beautiful bronzed balustrading, the architecture at 55 Victoria Street, is a welcome addition, with a lush sky garden and warm, bespoke-design interiors that are a departure from the “international hotel look” of many central London developments. Prices from £1.1 million. Call Strutt & Parker on 020 7318 4677.
From £2.8 million: contemporary family houses at Argyll Place in North Kensington
3. BEST FOR FAMILIES
Popular North Kensington is at least 30 per cent cheaper than neighbouring Notting Hill — one reason the Cameron family put down roots there long before the Prime Minister moved into Downing Street.
From £425,000: apartments at Dollar Bay, handy for Canary Wharf and featuring glass-walled winter gardens. Call 0845 077 9069
4. BEST FOR BANKERS
A short walk from the dealing rooms of Canary Wharf, Dollar Bay has 121 apartments with glass-walled winter gardens — a speciality of skyscraper “starchitect” Ian Simpson, who is creating similar spaces at Battersea Power Station. Prices from £425,000. Call Mount Anvil on 0845 077 9069.
£2,250 a week: The Brassworks flats on the Hyde Park Estate. Call 020 7262 2030
5. BEST STYLISH RENTING
The Brassworks on the Church Commissioners’ Hyde Park Estate was a Victorian factory where musical instruments for the military were made. Tucked away in a mews, tasteful contemporary-design flats have been created within the envelope of the beautiful old building. Rents from £2,250 per week. Call Kay & Co (020 7262 2030).
From £3.95 million: modern townhouses in Clay Street are spacious and flooded with natural light. Call 020 7935 6535
6. BEST FOR CENTRAL TOWNHOUSE LIVING
Marylebone is expanding at the edges as its residential renaissance gathers pace. Buyers are pushing west past Baker Street and east of Great Portland Street, blurring the border with Fitzrovia. Small-scale offices on Clay Street have been demolished to make way for five modern townhouses, thoughtfully designed by young architectural firm Piercy & Company, whose priority was to bring natural light into the homes and provide flexible space. Set over four storeys, each house has an internal glass-walled lightwell and integral garage. Prices from £3.95 million. Call Druce on 020 7935 6535.
From £410,000: sheltered balconies and patio gardens at Porter Building in Bermonsey Spa. Call 020 7237 1200
7. BEST AFFORDABLE HOME
Bordering fashionable Shad Thames, for many years Bermondsey Spa was a backwater, a gritty pocket of Southwark sliced in two by a railway viaduct linking nearby London Bridge. But imaginative regeneration proves that old neighbourhoods can be reinvented as attractive places to live and work.
Porter Building, which has a glass atrium rising in a central landscaped courtyard, has apartments due for completion this summer. These final-phase homes have floor-to-ceiling doors and windows, sheltered balconies and patio gardens. Prices from £410,000. Call 020 7237 1200.
From £780,000: Holland Park Avenue flats have artists' studios on the ground floor. Call 020 3538 2058
8. BEST INVESTMENT
If scarcity of supply underpins investment, the first new homes for 50 years in Holland Park Avenue, one of Kensington’s top addresses, seem a sure-fire bet. A new gated development of 41 apartments is arranged in five linked pavilion buildings and a 10-storey tower with artists’ studios on the ground floor. Prices from £780,000. Call Redrow on 020 3538 2058.
9. AFFORDABLE RENTING
Design creep spreading from Shoreditch is spurring developers to unlock new homes in East End areas that are emerging from the shadows. Vivo is part of a “new” neighbourhood at Stepney Green where private rental company Fizzy Living is targeting the Facebook generation. Rents from £1,473 a month. Call 07557 523804.