Is the desirability of London property basements going down?

Published Feb 17, 2015 – 2 mins read

Having heard that multiple basement-extension planning applications have been put on hold or resubmitted particularly in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster, questions have been posed regarding the attraction of basement conversions for both sellers and for those living in and buying these properties.

Authorisation for major works to property, of course requires planning permission, but why has there been a series of ‘on-holds’ on resubmissions for basement extensions in London as of late?

Increasing the living space available in a family home or enabling more availability in a rental property – extending any property, and thus increasing its value, is naturally appealing to any home owner. Basements give many London families additional valuable storage, or a play room for smaller children or a supplementary bedroom or study or even entertaining space and a kitchen; for the ultra-high value property a sub-basement is much more, often providing a home cinema, a gym, a spa or even a swimming pool and ballroom.

So where do the planners draw the line? The main reason many London Boroughs appear to be against them are for reasons affecting the structural integrity of surrounding buildings, growth swell and foundations, disturbance, noise, parking suspensions and dust and how the continual vibrations of digging equipment, drills and foundation supports affect local residents.

However, with basement plans being slowed and halted currently, does this mean the extensions are becoming less favoured by local councils and planning departments? If so, those buyers looking for larger properties in areas such as Chelsea may begin to look elsewhere.

Areas such south of the river in particular like Wimbledon, Wandsworth and Lambeth will begin to attract those looking for more substantial sq.ft. within their property, as these less-demanded areas host naturally larger houses. The plots are larger, the houses offer more space, there is often off street parking and large parks nearby; but whereas these may do for the domestic market, many overseas buyers still wish to stay central – so instead where do they go?

I would propose to suggest the penthouses in bastion developments like One Blackfriars are keenly sought – the problem being getting the right representation and negotiation and the right choice of property, a saleable, tradable asset, and many overseas foreigners do not visit the areas or developments first hand and therefore need the most professional guidance and advice.

When purchasing in London, it is always a good idea to have a knowledge of what is possible and what is not in terms of property renovation. It is also essential to know the demands on particular areas of London, as you will find that many postcodes have their own ‘micro-markets’ in buying and selling activity.

Seeking the right, correct advice and making the right introductions to meet a client’s needs is fundamental, particularly when it comes to architects and designers, it is after all an emotive and very personal thing!

If you are looking for a London home, considering an investment purchase or taking on a project, do contact us for tailored advice on your options, market conditions and how we can assist.