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City of London: A Buying Agent’s Brief Guide

The Neighbourhood

The City of London or ‘The Square Mile’ is the capital’s long-standing financial centre. It is by far London’s most architecturally diverse area and all the better for it – home to towering skyscrapers, grand Georgian blocks, medieval churches, brutalist monuments and Roman ruins.

Once regarded as chiefly a place of work, the area is gradually redefining itself. Dining and retail options are improving to cater for the increased footfall at weekends. Spitalfields Market opens 7 days a week with a wide variety of independent food and retail options. The stunning Leadenhall Market has a great selection of pubs and independent boutiques while The Royal Exchange focuses on high-end retail. The City of London corporation recently set out a masterplan to enhance the streetscape by pedestrianising busy roads like Threadneedle Street and creating more European style plazas.

The City has always been well connected with numerous tube stations. The arrival of the Elizabeth Line at Liverpool Street has made more of London and Heathrow Airport accessible while taking pressure off the tube at rush hour.

Green space is limited but there are several quiet public spaces like Postman’s Park and several sky gardens such as The Garden at 120 are open to the public. The Barbican Centre also has several public squares.

The Market

The property market within the City of London boundaries is limited. Although an estimated 400,000 workers travel in daily, there are only 10,000 residents. This population is slowly growing with a handful of residential-led new developments including The Heron, Barts Square and Roman House. By far the most established residential development in The City is The Barbican – an iconic Brutalist landmark with a rich cultural offering including a library, theatres, cinemas and a conservatory described as an ‘indoor rainforest’. It alone accounts for 2,000 homes in The City.

While home buyers will find options limited in The City itself, there is far more choice in peripheral areas – sometimes referred to as ‘City Fringe’. Holborn, Old Street, Wapping, St Katharine Docks and Borough just South of the River all have a stronger residential emphasis. We have previously covered Clerkenwell/Farringdon and Islington which are both popular with workers and easily commutable. The area where Shoreditch borders The City has a fairy relaxed planning environment and has become a focal point for new build high rise residential blocks such as Principal Tower. Buyers should interrogate the service charges of new builds when assessing value.

In terms of the commercial market, numerous new skyscraper proposals are in the planning pipeline. This underlines the strong demand for best-in-class office space and bodes well for future residential demand in ‘City Fringe’ neighbourhoods.

If you are considering buying in The City, we’d advise you first consider all surrounding areas to give yourself more options and negotiation leverage. There is something to be said for living near work but not on its doorstep!

If you are looking for a City of London buying agent or simply want a market overview, please get in touch with us today for a no-obligation 30 minute consultation at [email protected] or +44(0)208 0880 522.

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