Flats in the three original Barbican towers are very similar. They should be very similar in value, right? It appears not.
First, the similarities. The towers themselves are similar shaped containers, and they each have three flats per floor, which superficially are very similar to each other in shape and layout. Individually, flats fall into a few clearly defined groups. Most flats in Shakespeare Tower are types 8A, 8B, and 8C. Most of flats in Lauderdale and Cromwell Towers are types 1A, 1B and 1C (becoming 9A, 9B, and 9C on upper floors). So you’d think an average price would easily emerge, which would allow me to create a clear line chart showing a nice steady increase in value for tower flats since the start of 2010. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t work out that way. Despite the flats being so similar, prices achieved don’t go up over time in a nice smooth line. Instead, they vary enormously – as you can see from the chart below.
There must be factors, other than size, shape and layout, which affect the price. The main factor – maybe not all that surprisingly – is which floor the flat is on. If you correlate all 2015 sale prices against the floors the sold flats are on, it becomes clear that flat values increase very dramatically as you go up a tower.
I have done this chart which shows the result. The 2015 sales are the red dots. I have also charted the 2010 sales and they are the blue dots.
The three lowest prices achieved in 2015 ranged from £1.085 million to £1.4 million, and they were on floors 2-4. The three highest prices ranged from £1.75 million to £2.15 million, on floors 29-33. That is quite a difference. As Mia said in Pulp Fiction ‘Goddam!’ (Admittedly that was after accidentally taking heroin, but I think these price differences merit a similar reaction – at least, if you live on a high floor in a Barbican tower.)
You can see how the same effect applied in 2010, although the differences in value were less pronounced then. If you look at the blue dots, you can definitely see the same effect that height in the tower had on the prices achieved, although they were within a much narrower band then. £780,000 (for a flat on the 4th floor of Lauderdale Tower) was the lowest price achieved that year; and £980,000 was the highest price achieved (for a flat on the 30th floor of the same tower).
Of course, one other result of the chart is encouraging to everyone with a tower flat, even on lower floors. Prices of all flats, wherever they are in the tower, have been marching resolutely in the higher value direction between 2010 and 2015.