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Think inside the Square: why the City is a top spot to buy a home

IF YOU’RE looking for the ultimate Tube-busting pied a terre, the Square Mile can’t be bettered for history, beauty and – of course – convenience. Other financial centres are not exactly places you’d want to live: tightly packed with skyscrapers and fumes, they have a sterile, uninhabitable feel (just think of mid-town New York or Shanghai). The City, though, is full of lovely old pubs, monuments to important moments in history and a true sense of London’s past – Dickens readers will know it was the author’s stomping ground and home to his nocturnal walks.

Then there’s the nightlife – what other financial centre can boast such proximity to the buzzy likes of Spitalfields and Shoreditch? Yet despite all its attractions, the Square Mile is a bit of a hidden jewel when it comes to residential property, with only 8,000 residents (London is home to 7.6m). This could be set to change, though. Shaun Macnamara, of Foxtons’ Shoreditch office, says: “More and more people are looking at the City as a place to live as people work longer hours. Plus, it’s cheaper than living in the West End, in terms of price per square foot.”

HOST OF BENEFITS
Grace Agnew, a financial consultant who works in Wapping and lives in the Barbican, says: “Possibly the best thing about living in the Square Mile is being able to walk to work. But once you get past the obvious advantages of avoiding public transport, there are a host of other benefits including the proximity of wonderful theatre at the Barbican, as well as its three cinemas; a splendid choice of restaurants from Bishopsgate to Bank; Spitalfields and Smithfield markets and an increasingly abundant number of clothes and shoe shops in and around Liverpool Street.”

And while some may object to the quietness of the area on Saturday and Sunday, Agnew says it’s a virtue. “Perhaps the very best thing about living where everyone else works is having the place to yourself every weekend.”

There are popular Square Mile residential developments, including Werna House on Monument Street and Trinity Square at Tower Hill, but they’re relatively small in size.

Marcus Dixon, of Savills Research, says: “Residential options are limited with the supply chain inevitably capped by a lack of space and limited turnover.” Indeed, in the year to June there were only 72 residential sales recorded by the Land Registry within the City of London, which sold for an average price of around £500,000, according to Savills.

But if you’re a savvy investor who fancies an easy and pleasant stroll to work through London’s historical heart, the Square Mile is a great place to snap up a flat before the crowds catch on.

TRINITY SQUARE, EC3N
Price: £795,000
Located by Tower Hill and Fenchurch Street stations, this two bedroomed duplex flat spreads over the fourth and fifth floors of an impressive building, with an elegant interior and views of the River Thames and Tower Bridge. You’re five minutes from Bank by foot. Contact:?Foxtons on 020 7033 1414, www.foxtons.co.uk

CITY WALL HOUSE, EC2M
Price: £390,000
One-bed ideal pied a terre with City rooftop views to the front and church views from the Juliet balcony to the rear. Right on the doorstep of the hubbub of Liverpool Street and is within spitting distance of Moorgate. Contact:?Foxtons on 020 7033 1414, www.foxtons.co.uk