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What are the different property types in London?

Posted by Hanna Liversidge on 14th August 2019
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So what are the different types of properties in London or if you’re thinking about buying and can’t really even figure out what type of style and want to make sure you cover it all then check out this video!

Today we are going to be talking about the different property types in London, you can view the video here. 


To get started, the first key property type is a flat and if you’re coming from a different part of the world you’ll probably know that as an apartment but here the terminology is generally a flat. Now, flats can have all different sizes and locations but suffice it to say it’s pretty much an apartment where you’re going to own the interior walls. Now what kind of flat? The other terminology that comes up sometimes with a flat is the concept of the maisonette and a maisonette is basically a flat that has multiple layers to it so you’re definitely going to have stairs at some point in the flat, now you might have kind of a tiered flat so you’ll have maybe one or two rooms on one floor, a couple of stairs down, and then other rooms on a different floor, so that’s a maisonette flat. Some people might refer to it as a duplex flat in America where you have 2 key distinct levels, that’s also considered probably a maisonette here.


The other key property type when it comes to flats is its location – one of the most sought-after properties garden patio in a garden flat in Londonor flat types is the garden flat. So, in America, say, or DC where I used to live, even though you might have an apartment that’s been in a house with multiple apartments in it you generally have the communal space being the backyard, the driveway or what have you, well here in London, the way it’s set up the garden flat or the lower ground floor flat will be the flat that has a direct private access and owns the garden associated with the back of that building so that tends to be a very sought after but the trade-off is you have somebody on top of you and then in your typical terraced property, if you’ve got multiple flats and you’ve got a lower ground floor flat then that means you may have one, two, three, four flats above you depending obviously on the number of levels in the property. One of the other key distinctions is the flats that are on the first and second floor might have more ceiling height so they’re going to tend to be taller and then the ones at the very top floor might have lower slanted roof heights simply because they have to deal with the roof issue.


Now where are those flats located? Often flats have come about from larger single-family houses that over time have been cut up so when I talk to clients about what’s their style I often ask if they would prefer a more modern property, a more modern flat, or one that’s more charming and classic? That’s in a converted terraced house, so that leads to the concept of a converted terrace and that means it would have been a house that typically would have been built around the Victorian times going back to the 1800s to early 1900s, and those homes are everything from the gorgeous white stucco fronted that make South Kensington and areas like Mayfair so incredibly popular because they’re so beautiful and if you watched Downton Abbey you would have seen that. So again those would have been homes where you’d have wealthy people in the country having a London house and it would have been typically a white stucco fronted terrace house.


The other choice & other kind of styles you might see in terraced homes is a classic red brick and you’ll see that in areas as diverse as Mayfair but also in Marylebone and one of my favorite areas is in Northwest London – in South Hampstead. So again that red brick property is going to be very popular.


When you go bigger, beyond say, a mid-terraced house or a townhouse you might have a property that’s a semi-detached or end-of-terrace property so that in that situation you’re going to have one wall of windows and you’re not sharing both sides of your house with your neighbours. So that’s typically going to be a larger property or at least more desirable because you’re going to have more windows and your windows are not just going to be restricted to the front of the house or the back of the house.


Next is a detached house and obviously we know what that means it’s just a free-standing standalone house. Given that we’re in London those are going to be extremely more expensive compared to your flat and in those situations, you’re going to be typically owning a freehold as opposed to a leasehold so if you don’t know what that means check out my prior video on the difference between leasehold and freehold property. So again, things you need to think about and depending on where your budget is, if they are going to be key factors you want to consider.


Now, when we talk about coming back to the concept of a flat and where they’re located you can also pool in a london propertyhave something called a mansion block and these are going to be very classic traditional properties that were built as multiple units but they’re going to be very classic, so red brick fronted, three, four, or five stories, some of them will have less others might not but you’re going to see how beautiful those are and that’s going to be your mansion block as opposed to a classic purpose-built apartment building and we all know what that means. Now that will range from everything from ex local council properties which were built in the 50s and 60s after the World War II, so stylistically they’re very brutalistic very heavy, dark brown brick, or to stunning skyscrapers or high-rises in places like Canary Wharf where there’s a lot of land, a lot of opportunity to build out.

The difference is, when you’re getting into those types of properties, you’re going to have lots of amenity choices, so they’ll typically have a porter or somebody coming in or what we might call a doorman in America, but a porter who’s looking after that property. You’ll also, again, in some of the newer properties, the more luxury properties, you have lots of amenities whether that’s a pool, a gym, a theatre room, and in some of the properties they’ll even allocate a dining space that residents can use or even space that you can use as office space and take meetings in, so those are multiple choices you’ll have.


A bonus property worth talking about is a loft conversion (or warehouse conversion) and no one does it

better than London, and some of the most beautiful and special ones are located at Shad Thames, which are the former warehouse buildings along the river where ships would have come in and unloaded their grainery, their different produce, their different cargo and store them in these warehouses. These flats that exist today have incredible character – you’ve got original exposed beams, windows, different types of character elements, exposed brick that just make them really special, you’ve obviously got river living as well which is great and they’re just really special properties and if that’s worth considering then you definitely want to check out the area called Shad Thames and when you’ve considered all of those you’ve got also the Mews property and Mews’ are so special and I would daresay they might be unique to the UK but they are really special properties that weren’t originally set up to be houses they were originally barn door stables, spaces and places to hold carriages, and they sit tucked behind, typically, a traditional street or a grandeur square or street.

a Mews property on cobblestone street in London

What makes Mews’ so special is that they traditionally have cobblestone streets leading up to them and they’re cul-de-sacs so they’ll definitely be just a sense of stepping into a different period of time. The houses are going to generally be smaller and as they’ve been repurposed and renovated over the years they might have been either dug down to get more space and traditionally some of the kitchens might be on the lower ground level and the layouts can be really quite interesting and also how they get light in, but it’s an incredible property type that’s worth considering if you want a very classic and unique property that is truly probably very special to London.



So, I hope this has given you a sense of the different types of housing choices in London if you have any questions please use the comments below. I share weekly videos all about property and London on my YouTube channel, which you can subscribe to here.


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