When it comes to property values, does size matter?


Estate agents are obsessed with size. Always comparing theirs to others and harping on about “pounds per square foot”. I’ve been told many times that it’s what you do with it that counts and, when it comes to property, I couldn’t agree more.

In Long & Waterson, which is a new/refurbished collection of lofts, apartments and penthouses in Shoreditch, you can buy a two-bed, fifth-floor apartment measuring 702sq ft for £1,010,000. That equates to £1,438 per square foot. By comparison, you could buy a 917sq ft two-bed in Eagle Point/The Eagle on City Road on the 15th floor for the same price, which works out at £1,101 per square foot.

Now, there are some obvious differences; The Eagle is a 27-storey tower with 276 apartments (70 affordable housing) whilst Long & Waterson is a more boutique scheme with 119 apartments across eight stories.

Both have gyms, concierge, a screening room, and landscaped gardens. The Eagle has a swimming pool whilst Long & Waterson has a library. Three lifts serve all of the apartments at The Eagle whilst you’ll be sharing a lift core with a maximum of 12 other apartments at Long & Waterson.

But back to talking size. On paper, the flat in The Eagle is 26% cheaper than the one in Long & Waterson, so as a buyer, I’m thinking that is by far the better deal, no? Not necessarily if we take a look at the floorplans. Reception rooms, bedrooms and kitchens are where we spend the majority of our time. Hallways and landings add to the overall square-footage of a property, but they aren’t really considered usable space.

In the Long & Waterson flat, the living room and kitchen measures a combined total of 37.9 square metres, while the bedrooms are 10.6 and 9m respectively. Add to that a 26-square metre private terrace and you’ve got 83.37 square metres (897sq ft) of usable space.

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Loft-style living at Long & Waterson in Shoreditch

Over in The Eagle, the total size of the reception room and kitchen is around 34m square, while the bedrooms are larger at 15.18 and 10.68 square metres a piece. There is an extra bathroom, but there is also a long hallway connecting the kitchen and bedrooms that isn’t much good for anything. All up, The Eagle flat’s total usable space comes in at 65.31 square metres (703sq ft).

These new numbers give a different perspective: the Long & Waterson flat is now £1,125 per square foot with the terrace. The Eagle is £1,436.

Overall size really isn’t the whole shebang. Aspect, light, finish, quality of life, amenities, location are all vital factors to determine the value of a property. But if you like a numbers game, it’s worth considering that some square feet are worth more than others.

Ben Ainsworth is sales manager at Knight Frank Aldgate.