Living space in London is limited, and developers have had to come up with cutting edge property designs to get around this problem. One trend that has arisen over recent years is for owners to have huge basements excavated below their homes. This kind of project can boost the amount of living space in a home substantially and add a lot of value in the process.
These huge basements are known by several names, including mega and iceberg. Projects have been proposed in many different varieties, showing just how many options there are for them. Several of the ideas have even made it into the headlines – not always for the right reasons. One of the most noteworthy projects is planned by Peter Simon, the owner of the Monsoon and Accessorize chains. He plans to build a £1 million basement complete with gym, swimming pool, wine cellar and two apartments on his home in Chelsea.
The latest story to make it into the headlines has not even made it to the planning stage but shows just how far the basement trend has come. At a recent auction an unnamed buyer purchased a 1,975 square foot subterranean plot in Bloomsbury for £150,000. The ground is beneath a 1930s apartment building on Queen Square, a valuable area in Central London.
The plot captured the interest of buyers, eventually pushing the selling price £30,000 beyond the guide price. The demand comes from the fact that property values in the area are so high and there is need for new homes and office space. This means that the basement space could be designed to suit a wide range of needs if permission could be achieved. This kind of scope is very attractive to buyers. Even if permission is not granted the value of the plot may still rise in the future.
It is believed that this is the first time a basement plot beneath an existing property has been sold. Generally this space is developed by the existing property owners. Excavating the basement and building homes or commercial spaces will be challenging if that is what the buyer intends. It will be very interesting to see their plans in the future and to monitor how the basement trend will continue to influence the market for property investment in Islington and other popular areas of the capital.