House Hunting in England: Nestled in a London Viaduct for $1.3 Million

This arched two-bedroom, two-bathroom house is built below and next to an active 19th-century railroad bridge in south London. The 1,600-square-foot open-plan home is shrouded in rust and brings light through a slender three-story patio.

The front door, lined with palm trees and a square window, is located in an underground passage under the viaduct. A two-story entrance space functions as a physical and acoustic interface between inside and outside, said Didier Ryan, the architect who designed the house for his brother, completing it in 2012.

“When you come in through the second door, it opens into the vast, cavernous area of ​​the arch,” Ryan said. “It’s such a big change of scale that it’s an amazing surprise for people to go through this space.”

He added, “London has a very good amount of gray skies a lot of the time, but in this area it is always very well lit.”

To prevent noise and vibration from the passing trains above, the house was placed on a raised rubber base and constructed with layers of materials – including the industrial steel housing – and soundproofing cavities, such as double-glazed windows.

Both ends of the ground floor – which is large enough for several sets of furniture, including two large kitchen tables – are framed by a large arch. On one side, near the entrance, a staircase leads to a small mezzanine with a built-in library and enough space for a playground or office. Below that, behind a door, is the laundry room.

On the opposite side, where the roof opens onto the hammock patio, is the kitchen, with an island and a cupboard that curves against the wall. Benches, such as the built-in bookshelf and mezzanines, are crossed by iroko wood. A tall window with wooden frames overlooks some planted greenery.

One bedroom is on one side of the kitchen and the other is a bathroom with a mosaic tile closet. A spiral staircase leads to another mezzanine with the second bedroom at one end and a bathroom at the other. Meanwhile, a white staircase ascends to the upper level, which has been used as a study and offers a view of the skylight.

The house is located in the Walworth neighborhood of London, a few steps from the 140-acre Burgess Park and the South Bank area, which houses many art galleries and a river corridor. Two London Underground stations are 1 mile away. From home. Heathrow Airport is approximately one hour by car or 75 minutes by public transport.

Credit…The modern house

The housing market in Britain had a surprisingly strong 2020, despite the country’s struggles with the pandemic. Even with a slight slowdown in January due to the winter increase in coronavirus infections, the momentum continued in 2021 thanks to low interest rates, the expansion of government housing and employment support and the development of the Covid-19 vaccine, not to mention continued demand for larger homes and more outdoor space.

“I think the light at the end of the tunnel is definitely a great guide right now, and that’s another reason I think the market will be very busy after Easter,” said James Klonaris, chief stock officer at The Modern House Stock Exchange. company that has this listing. “I think it’s all a matter of avoiding unemployment. If we can do that, I think the market will continue. And the pandemic has taught us that our living environments are extremely important. “

Modern House ended in 2020 with “probably the busiest market since 2015”, said Mr. Klonaris. A stock market consultant, Jack Blythman, noted that the company has seen a 150 percent increase in site users since the beginning of 2021, compared to the same period in 2020.

After an eight-week hiatus during Britain’s first lockout last spring, the market went up quickly and got bored at Christmas.

“I do not think any of us expected the other side to come out with such a strong market,” Jonathan Hewlett, head of London, told Savills. The global real estate company reported a 10 per cent increase in its UK housing revenue by mid-2020.

According to a report by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in December 2020, Britain recorded the highest annual house price growth since October 2014, with average house prices rising by 8.5% during the year and to reach a record 25 252,000 ($ 347,000). The office report in January 2021 averaged 24 249,000 ($ 343,000), while prices also rose in Wales (+ 9.6%), Scotland (+ 6.9%) and Northern Ireland (+ 5.3%).

London remained the most expensive area in Britain, with an average house price of 1 501,000 ($ 691,000).

The December ONS report noted a “range of factors” for the increases, such as reduced inventory, limited demand, a shift in housing preferences amid the pandemic and changes in real estate taxes. In July, the government imposed land tax on stamps, a transaction tax paid on real estate purchases, on “holidays” until March 31, 2021. It has since been extended to June.

“We’ve obviously seen a fairly well-established pattern of people looking for more green and more space after the lock,” said Tom Bill, head of UK housing research at real estate company Knight Frank. “This has definitely driven demand and driven activity in the outer suburbs of London, the suburbs and also in the country.”

In privileged central London, Savills also reported strong activity at the “absolute top” of the market, Mr Hewlett said.

Agents agreed that the greatest demand was for large family homes with offices and outdoor space. However, travel restrictions extended by Britain’s rise in Covid-19 infections during the winter have largely forced foreign buyers out of the picture.

“Even with travel restrictions and very few international buyers in London, some international investors are certainly looking to buy off-plan units in new programs,” said Hewlett, noting that the impending introduction of a 2% surcharge abroad Buyers who buy homes are accelerating the activity.

However, uncertainty about when foreign buyers will return to London dampens optimism for 2021, Mr Bill said. “It may take some time to adjust,” he said, “so we just cut our forecasts for this year. We actually uploaded it a bit for next year. We believe that demand is likely to shift further by 2022. “

The hope is that the country “is on the verge of a kind of return to normalcy,” he said. “I think because the Covid cases are falling, because the vaccine program in the UK has been, relatively speaking, a success, because there is the prospect of summer vacations, I think what is happening now, we are starting to see supply coming back and I think the supply and demand are both, frankly, just getting stronger. “

Travel restrictions have changed the demographics of the market in Britain. “We usually have a lot of American or European buyers, but that is less true unless they live,” Klonaris said.

In 2020, French buyers were the most prominent foreign presence in the central London market, “because they could get here more easily,” Mr Bill said, noting that “the Italians were also quite active”.

Prior to the pandemic, Chinese buyers dominated central London, followed by buyers from the US, Russia, India, Hong Kong and the Middle East.

There are no restrictions on foreign buyers in England. Buyers and sellers use their own lawyers and the seller pays the agent’s commissions, which are 2 to 3 percent.

If the accommodation is a second home, an additional charge of 3 percent is added. This is in addition to the 2 percent stamp surcharge for overseas buyers, which will be introduced on 1 April.

“We believe that there are still many international buyers who want to live / invest in London and many really believe that they are buying as close to the bottom of the market as you can,” said Mr Hewlett. “Especially as buyers receive a discount of about 20% from the top in 2014.”

This property is for sale to a tenant. Buyers buy a lease from the landlord (usually referred to as a freeholder). The lease term for this property is approximately 850 years.

Modern House warns that it “ignores any lenders who provide mortgages on this house”, due to the non-formal construction of the property.

English; pound sterling (1 pound = $ 1.38)

The ongoing “holiday” stamp means “anything under 500 500,000 ($ 689,000) is zero,” said Bill. This will last until June 30, when the limit will be reduced to .000 250,000 ($ 345,000) by September 30.

The council’s annual tax on this home will be 8 1,867 ($ 2,600) for the next financial year, said Mr Blythman of The Modern House.

The Modern House, 011-44-020-3795-5920;

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