This autumn sees a return to “normal trading” after the sales frenzy of recent months, when many new apartments were snapped up “off-plan” by buyers with only a brochure to whet their appetite.
Arrive in luxury
The opportunity to choose the interior design spec is an option that has not been seen for a while in new developments, but this added choice for buyers has staged a comeback, maybe a signal that builders are afraid that five interest-rate rises will slow the market.
Lavishly designed marketing suites that look like a Bond Street fashion store are one new arrival.
At Pan Peninsular in Canary Wharf, buyers are ferried to the dockside location in a luxury yacht moored at a nearby “departure point”. Pan Peninsular comprises a pair of inter-linking towers rising to 50 storeys. The Manhattan-style development will include valet parking, private cinema, a sky lounge, holistic spa, signature restaurant and 24-hour concierge service. Prices start at £330,000 for a studio. Call 0700 072 0720.
While some developers are using large, luxurious apartments to tempt big-budget buyers, others are creating “everyday” show homes that strike a chord with first-time buyers. These apartments are fitted out with affordable furniture, paints and materials from high-street chains and specialist local shops. Stockists’ details are available so that buyers can “get the look”.
Notting Hill Housing Trust, which has set up a private sales division to target first-time buyers, has joined forces with interior designer Ilse Crawford in what it says is a “Topshop-style retail approach to property - homes that are fashionable and affordable”.
At Whitechapel Depot - a former Royal Mail sorting office on Greatorex Street, E1 - Crawford came up with a simple, “lived-in” look. The bicycle leaning against a wall, tea cosy and cup on the kitchen table, and opened cupboards showing foodstuffs were all calculated to appeal to young about-towners. Flats come with flooring and all appliances, and cost from £245,000. Call Savills on 020 7092 9942.
The same formula is being used at 661 London Road, Hounslow - 62 apartments priced from £195,000. Call estate agent Anthony James Manser on 020 8847 0488. Coming soon are 140 homes on the site of a former Ford car showroom in Canonbury, Islington. Park Village East, bordering Regent’s Park, will have 41 homes. Carow Road, Brixton, will have 100 homes, and Drayton Green, Ealing, 60 homes. Visit www.nottinghillhousing.co.uk for more information.
Londonewcastle builds boutique apartment schemes and is sponsoring next month’s 100% Design show at Earls Court. This developer plans to link up with aspirational “lifestyle” manufacturers such as Bang & Olufsen and Apple to offer products at discounted prices.
At Royal Arsenal, developer Berkeley Homes has called on Tara Bernerd’s Target Living to create colourful and contemporary open-plan interiors. Sliding walls provide space flexibility. Upgrades apply to kitchen units and worktops, flooring, doors, showers, wardrobes, data sockets, ironmongery and paint finishes. Typically, upgrades cost between £3,500 and £14,500. Flats are priced from £250,000. Call 020 8331 7130.
Stand out from the crowd
Developers use show homes to give raw space a saleable identity. Often in the past, the finished article was unspectacular because the aim was to appeal to as many buyers as possible. But times have changed, and developers are pushing design boundaries in order to stand out from the crowd and capture the imagination of buyers.
If you buy a show home you not only get an individually designed home, you can also pick up extra fittings and fixtures - even commissioned art - at a competitive price.
Some developers offer sale-and-leaseback deals on show homes, which can be a convenient solution for both parties. For buyers, the bonus is that the home is furnished and the garden landscaped; there are no maintenance worries, you receive a regular monthly income and the property could well be worth more than you paid by the time you move in.