Derek Cunnington gazed out over the low-slung London skyline from atop an eight-story apartment building and liked what he saw. “When you’re up here, you can see lots of opportunities,” said Mr. Cunnington, owner of U.K. property developer Dekra Developments. The flat roof of Grove End Gardens, which overlooks the crosswalk on the Beatles’ famous Abbey Road album cover, is a construction site.
In 18 months, Dekra will have built six luxury penthouses on top of the 1935 brick building. Some developers are taking a novel approach to finding new building sites in crowded central London, where period homes are prized: They are adding penthouses on top of existing buildings. London faces a housing crisis defined by the lack of centrally located homes. Its growing population requires 42,000 new homes built each year for the next 20 years, according to the office of Mayor Boris Johnson. Demand pushed the average London house price up 13.2% in January compared with the same month in 2012, the U.K.’s national statistics agency said. The housing boom is making rooftop construction more feasible. Overseas buyers are willing to pay a premium for these newly built penthouse properties, which are rare in London, said Camilla Dell, managing partner at Black Brick, a real-estate buying agency for which foreign buyers account for 60% of the business.
Source: Wall Street Journal