The London property market is so crazy that most Barbican apartments are now selling for £1million. The average cost of a property in the Brutalist development reached £1.016million in 2021, according to research by Savills estate agents.
Data shows 1960s estate prices have climbed 12% from £905,000 in 2019. The average estate property cost around £550,000 a decade ago and £260,000 in 2001. A newly built penthouse with five bedrooms, four bathrooms and a large balcony overlooking the city could be rented in the development for £4,500 a year in 1972.
Jack Downes, head of sales at Hamptons agents, said many of the recent buyers are people who fled London during the pandemic but have since returned either for work or because they miss the city. He told the Evening Standard: “Those who have migrated to the countryside or the coast now want a place in the city. Some did not expect to be called back to their office, others simply miss London.
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The Barbican estate is made up of around 2,000 houses and was built by the City of London Corporation, which manages the Square Mile. It was designed to revive London’s financial district after it was razed during the Blitz.
The estate includes the Barbican Centre, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, the City of London School for Girls and the Barbican Library. It is a Grade II listed development designed by architects Chamberlin, Powell and Bon.
It was hoped the multi-million pound development would entice more people to move to the Cripplegate area after World War II with homes aimed at middle and upper class residents. The first tenants moved into the estate in 1969 and it is now home to around 4,000 people.
A BBC program in the 1970s revealed that tenants living in posh flats on the 35-acre site struggled to do their laundry because there was no launderette. More recently, residents living at the end of Brandon Mews said they had been kept awake at night for the past eight years due to noise and vibrations from London Underground trains.
Despite its flaws, many people enjoy living on the estate. Resident Nadine Waddel told the BBC in 2019: “It has a unique spirit in that it is an open and democratic space and its history is of public spirit as a gift to the nation by the city.” The Barbican Center turns 40 this month and the winner of a design competition for a £150million renovation of the building will be announced by the City of London Corporation in April.