Thursday, 28 July 2011

More tall storeys for Dalston Square

Barratt is launching it's Phase III show flat in Dalston Square on 30 July. Flats are being marketed for sale "off plan" for the final phase of towers to be built in Dalston Square.

Starting with Sledge Tower (up to 19 storeys) there will be 5 more blocks which will be built in a line going south down Dalston Square west side.

The foundations for Sledge Tower have been laid.

Readers will recall that in the great credit freeze of 2008 Barratt's share price crashed by 90% and it laid off thousands of workers nationally. There were nightmares on Mare Street. Would they leave Dalston as half-finished concrete stumps? The deep freeze seemed all embracing.

The Worship of Mammon - from Super-Hero to Sub-Zero.

But Barrett kept building in Dalston. They've been surfing the Olympic wave - East London house prices have held up compared to the mass of unsold new homes lying empty elsewhere in England. New Dalston's Olympic Bus Stop is a project the authorities couldn't allow to fail.

Looking north from Dalston Square which has now been paved

Dalston Square progressed whilst other sites were shelved. Now Barratt are starting to return to the sites, which it had forsaken during the property crash, to complete the abandoned skeletons .

A development in Wolverhampton, abandoned by Barratt three years ago, where now they're back on site.

In the last budget the government announced the latest 'First Buy' bail out for indebted housebuilders. It would lend first time buyers half the 20% deposit interest free on new build homes and housebuilders would lend them the rest.The Dalston Square flats Barratt are now marketing will just qualify for the FirstBuy scheme - the average price of a one-bed flat is £276,000 so it squeezes under the schemes upper limit of £280,000. But first time buyers will also need £13,800 cash (5%) and an income of £60,000 pa to qualify - if not, forget it because there's no affordable housing, despite the massive public funds already invested, in the scheme.

"We had an excellent response (from housebuilders)" said the government spokesman "including from smaller local builders" but it was the top four housebuilders who 'nabbed' 50% of the £180 million FirstBuy bail out fund which the government had set aside. Barratt got £25.6million. It tasted so good Barratt's Chief Executive has even asked for second helpings. Government bail outs help keep house prices above true market levels. Who benefits?

No retailers have yet to move into Dalston Square. There are lots of empty shops elsewhere to choose from in Dalston

Barratt isn't out of the woods yet. It continues to target buy-to-let customers and is keen to point out they'll get a 6.5% return on a Dalston Square investment - asking rents for one beds are £300 per week. Just as well London is awash with rich Chinese and Russian investors who, given the desperate shortage of accommodation for local people, will be able to subsidise their investment at public expense by renting to housing benefit claimants. They can also look forward to the 2012 Olympics when rents will £0000s per week (With the sweetner of 60 hopper buses an hour running from The Slab to Stratford for the period of the games- Ed). And don't forget, if they buy two or more flats they get a special government concession on stamp duty.

Welcome to the Big (Business) Society.


  1. I live in the development and it's pretty amazing. The worst thing about it is that most of the residents who live in it can't afford to buy. It is most certainly aimed at East Asian investors. They almost laugh at locals who walk in to the sales office. Phase III is so incredibly overpriced.

  2. I too like the development (with the exception of the inappropriate use of brick in Phase I) but the reason it - and indeed all London property - is so bloody expensive is that London is full of little groups that oppose the building of large apartment blocks. What we need is more people actively encouraging councils to build developments like Dalston Square and in doing so provide some supply to the huge demand and bring down prices. The arguments for high-rise in inner London are overwhelming.

  3. Anonymous (1:40) is badly misinformed if s/he thinks "encouraging Councils to build more developments like Dalston Square" will bring down house prices. Hackney gave its land to Barratt for a peppercorn and has to rent back the new library. The taxpayer also funded it by massive grants,tax and housing benefit subsidies. But there's virtually no affordable housing at all! On top of that, as previously revealed in this blog, Barratt & similar house builders' policy is to drip feed the market to ensure prices stay high.

  4. A rep at the sale office told me they agreed with the council to build a tiny amount of affordable houses due to building the public library.


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