For those disenchanted Londoners considering a move to the country, but afraid of spending half their lives on commuter trains, buying a pied-à-terre could be the solution. For a fraction of the price that you would sell a family home in London, hard-working city executives can hole up close to the office during the week, and afford to spend the rest on a life-changing country pad for the weekend.
A well-chosen property, in an attractive location, can be exciting to live in, but also provide a good long-term investment for retirement. In the best areas around the financial hub of the city, even the smallest flats hold their value well. However, it is important to choose your second home with the same care and attention as your primary residence. The most important thing to get right is the location.
THE TOP FIVE LOCATIONS IN LONDON TO BUY A PIED-A-TERRE:
This historic district in the heart of London is perfect for a mid-week pied-à-terre. Covent Garden is served by five different Underground stations making it extremely convenient to get to. With the cultural landmarks of the Royal Opera House and Covent Garden Piazza, plus a plethora of high-end shops, restaurants and theatre-land, the area is packed with choice for unwinding after work. Covent Garden has undergone a significant transformation recently, making it a world-class destination for retail and dining, with several luxury residential conversion projects also setting new standards for quality and pricing.
Shaking off its seedy reputation, Soho is now earning a name for being London’s creative hub, packed with famous venues, and lively new independent shops, bars, restaurants and media companies. Soho will soon offer better transport links to the city than Covent Garden, with Crossrail trains due to run from Tottenham Court Road to Heathrow from 2018. This has proved to be a major catalyst for new residential schemes, with a 40 per cent uplift in values predicted because of the new Elizabeth line.
This part of London is undergoing a major makeover with the regenerated Battersea Power Station, the new US Embassy and New Covent Garden Market. It will also include almost 3km of Thames river frontage, lined with cafes, bars, restaurants, cultural attractions and public space. A new linear park will run through the area making it one of the greenest districts on London's South Bank. With several new riverfront developments providing the ultimate in choice of luxury pied-à-terres, Nine Elms is a good option, with the area also forecast to enjoy 5.5 per cent annual capital growth over the next five years. Vauxhall station is a 10-minute walk away for commuter trains to Waterloo in less than four minutes. In 2020, Nine Elms will also get its own tube station.
On the fringe of the Square Mile, several new residential developments in Aldgate, perfect as a pied-à-terre, are creating a stir. Berkeley Homes’ Goodman's Field, which is a two-minute walk from Aldgate East tube station is the ideal spot, with a 24-hour concierge, health centre, pool and gym. Plenty of other new developments, including 250 City Road, are making Aldgate and City Road in particular desirable and convenient locations in their own right for City workers.
As a result of the redevelopment of Docklands and parts of East London along the River Thames, some of the most desirable properties in London can now be found around Poplar and South Quay, but without the associated waterside price tag. At impressive new developments, such as Dollar Bay, South Quay Plaza and Roneo Wharf, prices start from £500k.
Offering superb views of the City of London and the Thames, properties here also benefit from easy access to the DLR and Canary Wharf tube station, with the bonus of Crossrail opening in 2018.