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The central London pied-à-terre

Why a studio flat is a wise purchase. In prime London's property market, small is beautiful.

By Ruth Bloomfield (The London Magazine)


The market for pied-à-terre apartments is bucking all trends, with prices for studio and one-bedroom flats rising by up to 11.2 per cent over the past two years, while prices for larger homes have fallen. Experts say this is because the pied-à-terre – literally “foot on the ground” – allows buyers with more flash than cash to purchase a home in a fabulous area while avoiding higher rates of Stamp Duty. And, in a nervous market, it is a lower risk investment than buying a larger and more expensive property.

But David McKee, director of McKee & Co, South Kensington, believes the strength of the pied-à-terre is about more than taxes and post-Brexit market sentiment. “They have got a great market appeal to a wide cross section,” McKee says. “People buy them as rental investments, for sons and daughters, they will buy for students, or for their own use if their primary home is outside London,” he says. 

Prices across prime central London dropped around seven per cent in the last year, but in West Kensington and West Brompton the average price of these smaller properties increased by more than seven per cent.

Over the past two years, the strongest performance was recorded in West Kensington (up 11.2 per cent), while price growth of over eight per cent has been achieved in Hammersmith, West Brompton and Notting Hill.

Looked at over the last five years, pied-à-terre prices have shown serious inflation, led once again by West Kensington, where values have shot up by 99 per cent. In Kensington prices are up 88 per cent since 2011.

And even the “worst” performer, Paddington, has seen prices rise by 32 per cent over the past five years.

When Crossrail opens next year Paddington’s fortunes might rise because, for McKee, the perfect pied-à-terre is close to good transport links. It should also be “cosy and charming”, and with excellent views and good light to make up for its modest size. “On a garden square would be ideal,” he adds.

Edward Simpson, director of Ashdown Marks in Chelsea, has noticed owners and developers getting smarter about the design and layout of small flats. “They have very clever ways of making spaces multi-purpose,” says Simpson. “We are seeing kitchens in cupboards which you can close away, and bedrooms with pull- down beds that convert into sitting rooms when you have guests visiting.”

Developers are also getting in on the act, including increasing numbers of what they euphemistically style “suites” in new schemes – effectively hotel rooms with ensuite bathrooms and small kitchenettes, plus use of communal facilities such as swimming pools and spas.

 “London property is still seen as very safe global asset class, and overseas buyers are looking at a very healthy exchange rate on the way in. But the fact is that while there is not much of a market for 4,000 sq ft apartments right now, small units are selling.”

See full article from The London Magazine, The central London pied-à-terre, here.


At Winkworth Hammersmith Office we are in the perfect area for this new market trend. Here is what Ben Hunt, Director of Winkworth Hammersmith in Brook Green, has to say: “In 2017 we have seen a definite trend in Brook Green of affluent mature buyers looking for a pied-à-terre in London, following their children having flown the nest.  Brook Green is ideally located for easy access from the West Country and giving quick links in to Central London.  The area offers a village feel and has a number of excellent restaurants and pubs, as no doubt cooking will not be high on the agenda.  The housing stock is ideally suited to providing good pieds-à-terre, with a good supply of well-proportioned one bedroom flats and studios being readily available.”

If you are looking for a studio flat or a one bedroom flat, at Winkworth Hammersmith Office, we have exactly what you may be looking for.

See our newest selection below:

Lakeside Road, London, W14
£329,950 Leasehold
A charming studio flat on the second floor of a mid-terrace Victorian house in Brook Green.

Sinclair Gardens, London, W14
£535,000 Share of freehold
A charming one bedroom garden flat on the lower ground floor of a mid-terrace Victorian house in Brook Green.

Click here to view all our properties at Winkworth Hammersmith.

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