Living The Highlife In London

Belgravia ApartmentsThe property market is a funny old thing. It used to be that a grand townhouse was the epitome of everything a wealthy homeowner wanted when moving to London, but they have now started to set their sights much higher – in the most literal sense possible. This is because the new champion of cool living in the capital is found a number of floors above the streets below, in the penthouses adorning the tops of many apartment complexes.

From Mayfair to Marylebone, and from Park Lane to Peckham, apartment buildings are popping up at an astonishing rate. The clamour to sit atop these concrete thrones is immense; therefore the premium for living on the top floor is huge. Many people think that this is simply vanity ruling peoples’ wallets, but in reality this is not the truth. The extra money paid for the penthouse apartment isn’t just a spurious desire, but an extra expense that delivers an awful lot.

Space in London is at a premium

The first thing to realise about a penthouse apartment is that it is invariably far larger than any of the other apartments in the building, as it is spread across the whole of the top floor. There are no staircases bisecting it through the middle and generally apartments lower down the building are built two to a floor. Therefore, you get twice as much room in a penthouse – a serious advantage when living in a city as crowded as London has become.

Penthouse apartment Imperial WharfThis extra space makes the penthouse the perfect choice for those building for the future. They are large enough to enjoy oneself in, with room for all kinds of modern amenities, but they are also large enough to accommodate future additions to the family. This flexibility prevents the need to move away from a great location in order to find a family home in the suburbs, away from London’s attractions and transport links.

Talking of family, everyone wants to ensure that their kids are kept safe, especially in a city the size of London. While not a violent city by any means, buying a penthouse apartment is a sensible choice when it comes to security, as it places the family well away from prying eyes. Most apartment buildings in London also come complete with guards nowadays too, thus providing even more protection for the most important people in your life. After all, if a potential intruder can make it past the security guards, or scale the side of the building, they are extremely determined indeed…

More than just a status symbol

London ApartmentsThe next reason is a slightly more shallow one, but one that matters to many people – it is the fact that a penthouse in a good location gives them status. A penthouse screams that the person has wealth and that they have taste, and also that they want to show everyone exactly what they have got. Even the feeling of standing at the window and surveying the city below gives the sense of achievement – usually a just reward for a lot of hard work over the years. Of course, to others this might seem distasteful, but everyone has their own desires in London, which is why it is such an exciting and diverse place to live.

Convenience is another hugely important reason why people are moving not just into penthouses, but into London as well. It is becoming more and more expensive to travel into the city every day from around the country, as train prices and the congestion charge become more and more extortionate. When the fact that commuting can often take away a number of hours of your day, living where you work seems like a better idea by the minute. As with every other part of the country, people want to live in desirable homes, and penthouses are the most desirable at the moment. So the need to be close to London draws buyers in, and the advantages of the penthouse lures them to make the decision to buy this type of property.

A sound investment

London Apartments with PoolPerhaps the most important reason why people are plumping for the option of a penthouse though is simply down to them being shrewd investors. London is, and will continue to be, a city that is growing massively by the day. Just like in every other period of history, London holds a lure for people, who want to be a part of the excitement. A growing influx of foreign workers has also helped to swell London’s ranks by a huge number.

This massive increase in population means that property in London is getting extremely hard to find, and those who do find it are forced into paying very high prices for the privilege of living in this great city. The thing is, while prices seem high now, they will be even higher in the future. This means investing in property in London is sure to bring high returns in the future, especially when buying properties that command so much attention as penthouse apartments. With their space and security, people will continue to snap them up in the future, regardless of the price suggested by estate agents.

View from a London penthouse apartmentSo, a savvy buyer will realise that the price they are paying now might seem a lot, but this money could increase massively when they come to sell it in a few years. This is especially true in up and coming areas of the capital – areas where house prices are not extortionate yet, but will be soon. Just look at what happened to places like Brixton to see proof of how an area can go from undesirable to desirable in a matter of years. Those with penthouses in Brixton will certainly have made a pretty penny on the money they paid for them originally!

So, with loads of space, the security of Fort Knox, much boasting power and the chance to make a serious return on the investment, is it any wonder that the penthouse is the most desirable type of property around? What’s more, London is only going to keep building upwards, so there will be more penthouses available, although still not enough to satisfy the insatiable craving for this most valued of properties. Don’t expect the penthouse to be usurped as the townhouse was though, as it is going to be number one for a very long time yet…

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Written by Nick Fisher, a property professional who writes for UK Sotheby’s and enjoys driving around Devon and Cornwall in an AC Cobra looking for development opportunities.