South End, Kensington
Guide Price: £15.95m
This Fort Knox house includes two panic rooms with four inch bulletproof doors, a steel gun-safe for 24 firearms, an eight-inch steel vault and two separate CCTV systems. I pity anyone unwelcome who tries to get into this house. Contact Knight Frank on knightfrank.co.uk or 020 7938 4311
Balfour Place, Mayfair
Guide Price: £1.75m
If you want to plan a quick getaway then this property is ideal. With a hidden escape route through the wardrobe in the bedroom, you will never be caught out. This lion, the witch and the wardrobe house is one unique find. Contact Wetherell on wetherell.co.ukor 020 73493 6935
When searching for a house, everyone has certain criteria. This may include a large garden, an open plan kitchen or off street parking, but how many of you include security? The answer, it seems, is more than you might think. London agents are finding that security is becoming increasingly important to their clients, with wealthy buyers making it a top priority. Although, perhaps, not up to the American standards of nuclear bunkers, fog blasts and eye scanners, the UK is becoming far more safety conscious.
The rise in international buyers, who sometimes need to “lock up and leave” their property for months at a time, is largely responsible for the trend. Lateral living is often the preferred choice, with high-rise apartments decreasing the chances of break-ins and robberies. With the added benefit of a 24-hour concierge, full-time security and secure underground parking, these properties often provide the complete protection they require.
The most frequently seen devices are police-linked alarms, CCTV and state of the art security centres, allowing the owner to be the eyes and ears of the house, even from thousands of miles away. For high profile individuals – or those with priceless collections – these precautions may not be enough. For some, the film Panic Room is not very far short of reality; steel vaults, bullet-proof doors and secret rooms are becoming more common.
Those who don’t need a 24-hour guard but want added protection for their property may chose to hire a private security company. In Central London it is not uncommon for local residents to club together to hire security firms to patrol the streets at night. Roddy Craggs, partner at Knight Frank Kensington, says these measures, “have proven to be extremely effective and popular, not only with the residents who live there but with the potential buyers.”
Pressure pads, panic buttons and fortified rooms not be your run of the mill household accessories but, for those with plenty to lose, they have become an essential part of life. For buyers unwilling to compromise on security, property with high tech systems pre-installed are a major selling point.