A London skyscraper has become the city’s latest ‘ghost tower’ after the developer gave up selling its luxury flats because offers were becoming ‘detached from reality’.
Apartments in Centre Point tower are up for sale from between £1.8million to £55million but property firm Almacantar said too many offers are coming in ‘well below’ the asking price.
The company converted the 33-storey former office block, near Tottenham Court Road, into homes in 2015 and have so far sold around half of the 82 apartments, which range from small one-bed flats to five-bedroom penthouses.
It becomes the latest London tower to struggle to shift its living space, with 10 apartments worth up to £50million sitting empty at the top of The Shard since it was completed six years ago because offers have not been high enough.
Meanwhile, Riverwalk in Westminster still has 20 percent of its apartments for sale from £1.25million upwards despite opening in 2016.
As many as 500 more towers are in the pipeline for London despite thousands of high end flats still on the market, raising questions over the need for the behemoths.
London’s Centre Point tower, pictured, has sold only half of its luxury flats and property firm Almacantar said it was halting any future deals after receiving too many offers ‘well below’ the asking price
Luxury apartments in the building, pictured, range from £1.8m to £55m and around half of the 82 flats have been sold, but Almacantar’s chief executive Mike Hussey said recent offers were ‘detached from reality’ and said uncertainty around Brexit was affecting the market
The tower, pictured, which is near Tottenham Court Road, was formerly an office block that was converted into homes in 2015. The apartments offer amazing views of the city
Former City of London planner Peter Rees told the Daily Mail earlier this year he had pleaded for new towers in the City to be made as offices and not homes so ‘at least they would be occupied during the day’.
Mike Hussey, chief executive of Almacantar, told the Guardian it was down to uncertainty over Brexit and the prospect of tax increases on foreign investors.
He said: ‘Offers are now reflecting uncertainty on potential changes to stamp duty, taxation of overseas investors and other fiscal policy proposals’.
The company has now halted formal sales because it has paid off its construction debts through the previous apartment sales and has also leased retail space at the bottom of the tower.
Mr Hussey added: ‘We see no point in chasing a market that is increasingly detached from reality.’
Centre Point has struggled to sell space before when it was an office block, and stood empty for around a decade after it was completed in 1966, becoming known as the city’s ’empty tower’.
It even inspired the CentrePoint homeless charity name after campaigners occupied the tower over a weekend in 1974 to highlight the issue.
Critics have again hit out at the amount of empty homes in London while thousands of families live in temporary accommodation.
Referring to the 1974 demonstration at Centre Point, Chris Bailey of Action on Empty Homes said: ‘Now it’s happening all over again – Centre Point’s redevelopers have taken fright at Brexit jitters and decided many of its luxury apartments must remain empty again.’
Centre point, pictured left shortly after it was completed in 1966 and right in 1970, risks becoming another of London’s ‘ghost towers’
Almacantar also said the potential of tax increases on foreign buyers was also putting off interest in the flats, pictured
Other ‘ghost towers’ in London include the Shard, left, where 10 apartments worth up to £50million have been empty since it was built six years ago. Meanwhile, The Riverwalk in Westminster (right) was finished in 2016 but still has 20% of its apartments up for sale
According to New London Architecture, the only body keeping a record on London’s burgeoning towerscape, there are planned to be 511 more towers of 20 storeys or more added to the London horizon.
At the turn of the century, there were 30 while to years ago, 115 were planned or under construction.
Around half of London’s near 2,000 new luxury flats failed to sell last year despite having amenities including private gums, cinemas and swimming pools.
Many that do sell are bought by foreign owners who do not live in them most of the year.
Property data firm Molior said only 900 of 1,900 luxury new build flats priced at more than £1,500 per sq ft sold last year, with another 14,000 on the market priced between £1,000 and £1,500 per sq ft.
The company said it would take three years to sell all the remaining properties at the current rate of trade without the introduction of more new builds into the market.
One of the apartments inside Riverwalk in Westminster, where the remaining units available to buy start at £1.25million
Centre Point was described by the owners as one of London’s ‘great works of modern architecture’ but it was previously occupied by campaigners for the homeless in 1974 when it was still an empty office block to highlight the problem. Activists are again criticising the tower for the same reasons more than 40 years on
Almacantar had been marketing the properties with estate agents Knight Frank and CBRE.
The firm advertised the building as ‘one of the great works of modern architecture capturing the adventurous spirit of London’.
Mr Hussey added he expected buyers to return after a Brexit deal was agreed and there was more ‘confidence’ in the market.
He Estates Gazette magazine: ‘When buyers feel more confident about the wider macro situation, they will also feel more confident about paying these prices again.’