How much is the Barbican Estate worth?

The Barbican Estate is worth £2.2 billion in January 2016.

It’s January 2016. The start of a new year. I thought it would be interesting to try to work out what the Barbican Estate is actually worth. I just mean the flats, not the commercial parts, the land, or the Barbican Centre. I included the flats in Frobisher Crescent, but not in Blake Tower.

This is what I did. I broke down the estate into similar types of flats, and then discussed them with Tina Evans (Frank Harris & Company) and Nicola Lee (Hamilton Brooks), who didn’t mind me wasting a bit of their afternoons.

Tower flats were the easiest to do. They are all more or less the same size and shape, apart from the penthouses. There’s a big difference in the value of individual tower flats, depending on whether the flat is south facing (good) or facing in some other direction, and whether it is high up in the building (good) or near the podium (not so good). But I was able to arrive at an average value of a tower flat.

Then I looked at terraces block by block, and subdivided their flats according to the number of bedrooms they have. Again, I relied on the up-to-date knowledge of Tina Evans and Nicola Lee to look for averages.

In Gilbert House, for example, it was reasonably easy to arrive at a rough average for studio flats, one bedroom, two bedroom and three-bedroom flats. It was a bit more difficult for Seddon House, which has very similar flats, but those facing into the estate are worth considerably more than their brothers and sisters facing onto the road. But there is a similar number on either side of the corridor, so I could average out the difference for the way they face. Willoughby House was the most difficult, because there’s such a large variety of flat types and shapes there.

Having arrived at the average price for each size, I multiplied it by the number of flats of that type in the building. Then I added them all together.

The result was £2,178,503,375. Call it £2.2 billion.

I don’t know if a figure like that really means anything to anyone. I can never remember off-hand whether the number of stars in this galaxy is a hundred million or a hundred billion. But does it really matter to me; it’s a huge number either way. (It’s actually a hundred billion – I just looked it up.) Similarly, I don’t know what to do with the fact that the flats in the Barbican Estate add up to £2.2 billion. But big as the number sounds, our collective real estate still wouldn’t put us in the top 25 of the Sunday Times UK Rich List.

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