The Real Value of Roof Terraces

By Oliver Burns

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August 13, 2018|Super Prime Property

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  • hen a super-prime buyer is spending up to £7,000 per sq.ft on a property in London, they get the very best; an iconic address, world-class interiors, private spa facilities and underground parking. But there is one highly sought-after feature that doesn’t come as standard with a multi-million pound London home and that’s a roof terrace.
Image via Oliver Burns

Amongst the most discerning buyers, private outside space has become one of the most requested features in a property, with a roof terrace being the most highly coveted. This opinion is echoed by Daniel Daggers, Head of the London Super-Prime team at Knight Frank, ‘It is a huge USP to be able to relax or entertain in private outside space. Roof terraces in many instances are at the highest point of dense surroundings so not only do you have good views and the ability to entertain externally, but also privacy in a world that craves it.’  With space at such a premium in the capital, it can now carry as much weight in the buying decision making process, as a well-designed interior. Daggers goes on to say that ‘Roof terraces in central London are like convertible sports cars. They sell better in the spring and summer. The appreciation levels and imagination are ignited by the immediate gratification of enjoying a space that is so rare to find.

Image via Oliver Burns

Whilst their added value is determined by a number of factors – its size, location, orientation and the degree of privacy, agents indicate that outdoor space adds between a 10 and 30% premium. Daggers says, ‘In some instances across the globe, they can contribute up to 50% of the internal value per sq. ft. However the determining factor must be the weather and the actual time you are able to use it. Either way, when buying property I have one mantra. Always buy a property with the X factor and an apartment with a roof terrace certainly ticks that box.

Image via Oliver Burns

Whether perched atop a single dwelling or high above the city as part of a penthouse, the best terraces provide uninterrupted views of the skyline and the promise of alfresco living all year round. The better the view, the more desirable the apartment, so it’s always worthwhile trying to secure that extra space on the roof if permission isn’t currently there. We did this for Walpole Mayfair back in 2010, and again for the penthouse at Beau House. When there is only one penthouse in a development, it really adds value and it’s usually the icing on the cake that secures the buyer. The challenge is in creating the roof terrace space in the first place, as quite often for buildings in London, the plant equipment is sited on the roof. This can be complex and expensive to move because it means you have to rehome the equipment in the basement or compromise on internal space elsewhere in the building. A small roof terrace may be achievable without too much upheaval, but this is rarely enough to give the apartment the wow factor. Super-prime buyers expect the best, so roof terraces should ideally extend the full width of the building and offer a large versatile space for outdoor living.

Image via Oliver Burns

Increasingly, terraces are being viewed as an extension of the internal living space, offering a place to wine and dine guests, relax and even cook. We design these spaces in the same way as the interiors, making it feel more like another room in the house that provides extended living space for the owner.

Our penthouse at Beau House, encapsulates all the allure of outdoor living. It features a full width roof terrace that provides a 360-degree stunning panorama of iconic landmarks such as the London Eye and the Houses of Parliament on one side, and Sir Christopher Wren’s elegant St. James’s Church on the other. It has been thoughtfully designed to act as an extension of the interior with the same comfort and luxury finishes. The terrace features a state-of-the-art outdoor kitchen, complete with self-lighting barbecue, wine cooler and fridge.

There’s a table to seat eight with under-floor heating and an outdoor lounge area complete with a wall mounted TV. Cutting-edge technology has been artfully concealed, with speakers located in the planters, whilst an iPad is used to activate the heating, music and access requests at the mere touch of a finger. As the sun sets on London, the lighting system cleverly responds to the change in light. This is luxury outdoor living at its very best.

Image via Oliver Burns

Terraces can also serve to enhance the inside of the home too, by providing additional natural light. In past projects, we have incorporated large expanses of glass such as triple height windows in combination with an open plan layout to ensure light is not blocked and views are undisturbed. This was a key feature of the penthouse at Walpole Mayfair. It perfectly connected the outdoor space with the inside and provided amazing light throughout the open plan living areas. At Beau House, we designed a retractable roof window that reflects light down three flights of stairs. As you journey up the stairs, the connection between the inside and out is blurred as the expanse of daylight and promise of rooftop living beckons.

Image via Oliver Burns

The true value of a roof terrace is not just in the financial contribution it makes when the apartment is sold, it’s also in the experience it provides to the homeowner. When you stand on the roof terrace at Beau House, the toll from St James’s Church on Piccadilly and the Elizabeth Tower at the Palace of Westminster can be heard, immersing you in the wonder of the world’s most desirable capital city. It’s a moment that brings an element of surprise and feels rather magical. The real value a roof terrace is ultimately down to the unique experience you get from being there, and that can be very hard to put a price on.

Instagram: @daniel_daggers

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