The brutalist high-rise Centre Point has become the latest housing victim of Brexit as developer Almacantar has decided to take the flats off the market rather than sell them at budget prices.
The iconic tower on London’s New Oxford Street had functioned as offices for many years, before being transformed into a luxury mixed-use development featuring 82 high-end flats known as Centre Point Residences.
Centre Point Residences sees sales halted
The properties, which were designed by architects Conran + Partners, had been firmly targeted at the luxury market, with two-bedroom apartments on sale for £3.665m.
However, around half have been left unsold with sales now halted, as Almacantar has been faced with increasingly poor offers for the remaining flats.
“Offers are now reflecting uncertainty on potential changes to stamp duty, taxation of overseas investors and other fiscal policy proposals,” said Almacantar chief executive Mike Hussey in an interview with the Guardian, in which he said the costs of the development had already been covered.
“We see no point in chasing a market that is increasingly detached from reality.”
London’s growing collection of ghost towers
Over the past decade there has been a glut of luxury residential property developments in London, as the super-rich increasingly have seen the city’s property market as a shrewd investment choice.
However with Brexit this is increasingly ceasing to be the case. In 2017, over half of the flats in the ‘ultra-luxury’ category failed to sell.
According to online estate agent HouseSimple, the number of empty homes in Britain rose for the first time in a decade last year, to a combined value of £50bn.
London has by far the most empty homes, with 20,237 long-term vacant properties as of 2017.
Britain’s ailing housing market
The latest house price index, which was published in September, shows falling prices in the London and the wider South, which many attribute to Brexit.
“London is firmly a buyers’ market at the moment with heavy price discounting the norm,” said Sam Mitchell, CEO of HouseSimple.
“There is a new reality in the capital that sellers are having to come to terms with.”
However, for other parts of the country, things are looking more positive – suggesting that the impact of Brexit is being more firmly felt in the more international parts of the country.
“While property prices in the north have a spring in their step, driven by inward investment, thriving regional business hubs and a buoyant jobs market, London price growth is in reverse,” added Mitchell.
“Prices are down on last year, and sellers have found it difficult to adjust to these price adjustments. Having enjoyed strong price growth for a decade it’s easy to become complacent and assume this upward trajectory will continue unabated.”