A Two-Bedroom Marvel Built Into a London Viaduct
$1.3 MILLION (975,000 BRITISH POUNDS)
This arched two-bedroom, two-bath house is built below and beside an active 19th-century railway viaduct in South London. The open-plan home, covering 1,600 square feet, is wrapped in a rust-colored steel shell and brings in light through a slender three-story atrium.
The front door, clad in palm wood and topped with a square window, sits in an underpass below the viaduct. A two-door entrance hall acts as a physical and acoustic buffer between inside and outside, said Didier Ryan, the architect, who designed the home for his brother, completing it in 2012.
“When you come through the second door, it opens up into the vast, cavernous space of the arch,” Mr. Ryan said. “It’s such a big scale change that it’s an amazing surprise for people to come through that space.”
struggles with the pandemic. Even with a slight slowdown in January owing largely to a winter surge of coronavirus infections, the momentum has continued in 2021 thanks to low interest rates, the extension of government housing and job support, and the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine, not to mention continued demand for larger homes and more outdoor space.
“I think the light at the end of the tunnel is certainly a great driver at the moment, and that’s another reason I think that the market is going to be very busy past Easter,” said James Klonaris, head of appraisals at The Modern House brokerage, which has this listing. “I think it’s all a question of staving off joblessness. If we can do that, I think the market will continue. And the pandemic has taught us that our living environments are hugely important.”
The Modern House ended 2020 with “probably the busiest market since 2015,” Mr. Klonaris said. A sales adviser at the brokerage, Jack Blythman, noted that the company has seen a 150 percent increase in website users since the start of 2021, compared with the same period in 2020.
After an eight-week pause during Britain’s first lockdown last spring, the market picked up quickly and barreled into Christmas.
“I don’t think any of us expected to come out the other side with such a strong market,” said Jonathan Hewlett, head of London residential at Savills. The global property firm reported a 10 percent growth in its British residential revenues from midyear 2020.
December 2020 report by the Office of National Statistics (ONS), Britain saw its largest rate of annual house price growth since October 2014, with average house prices rising by 8.5 percent during the year and settling at a record high of 252,000 pounds ($347,000). The office’s January 2021 report showed the average at 249,000 pounds ($343,000), with prices also up in Wales (+9.6 percent), Scotland (+6.9 percent) and Northern Ireland (+5.3 percent).