“In Prime Central London (PCL) one thing is a fact; lateral space is rare, sought after and expensive.” says Simon Barnes of H. Barnes and Co. “Around Hyde Park Corner one can expect to pay around £5000 per square foot, as you move further out the land becomes cheaper and that is reflected in the asking price.
Traditionally London is full of tall narrow townhouses, deemed by overseas buyers to be quintessentially English and desirable; in reality everyday life is better lived over two floors than five. Asian buyers prefer new build, Eastern Europeans prefer the imposing stucco-fronted grand townhouses found in Belgravia and Knightsbridge. Space here is at a premium and finding a good lateral house is extremely hard.
Buyers in search of a more practical lateral floorplate find it hard to secure anything suitable in the heart of Prime Central London, so they start to widen their search and compromise on location. Hampstead and Highgate offer a better choice for those wanting detached family houses laid out over two or three floors, which can easily accommodate Middle Eastern and Indian families, with maybe three generation or several families under one generous roof.
The problem across PCL is that invariably many substantial properties are listed and therefore works and reconfiguration of the living space is restricted, meaning that rooms look out of proportion when carved up, partition walls don’t work and you end up spending vast sums of money for a second rate layout. The truth is that narrow buildings do not convert well. Today, Grosvenor Square in Mayfair is a rare example of a reconfigured building converted into great lateral space.
This is where mansion blocks tick the right box; purpose built, practical, well built and designed, with efficient heating, plumbing, good sound proofing and insulation. Eaton Square and Eaton Place offer some good flats for those in search of a premier postcode.
Years ago, I recall the best flat in London at the time in Eaton Square being sold – it was a first floor apartment spread out across four buildings. Recently, a flat in Knightsbridge comprising around 7,000 square feet sold for around £10,000 per square feet, double the going rate, because it offered exceptional rare lateral space in such a prestigious location.”