Market Overview

London's decade of towers: new report puts a value on 'building up'


A new report on London's high-rise residential developments, released today by Knight Frank, EC Harris and Barton Willmore, shows how a new wave of residential towers are set to re-define London's skyline.

LONDON, UK (PRWEB UK) 26 October 2012

A new report on high rise residential developments in London, released today by Knight Frank, EC Harris and Barton Willmore, shows how a new wave of residential towers are set to re-define London's skyline.

The report examines the unique planning, construction and funding challenges inherent in building tower schemes, including the additional costs of building ‘up', but also reveals that there can be a clear cost versus value benefit of building higher in certain locations across London's largely low-rise skyline when the tower scheme is built to the correct specifications.

Tower fundamentals:

  • The typical uplift in price per square foot in a residential tower in London is 1.5% per floor, excluding penthouse apartments. Once penthouses are included, the average increase rises to 2.2%
The incremental increase in the cost of building ‘up' is greatest in the 25-40 storey band There are currently 25 schemes under construction in London which include one or more residential or mixed-use towers A further 78 such schemes have planning permission Funding remains a key issue, with high levels of pre-sales demanded in many cases. Despite widespread political acceptance of the benefits of tall towers, planning permission can be difficult to obtain.


A unique map of all recently completed schemes, as well as schemes including residential and mixed-use towers that are under construction or in planning or pre-planning stages across London, shows that towers are now a key feature of the city's planning pipeline.

The report also highlights the factors that drive demand for tower schemes in London, before looking to the future, outlining how new sustainability rules could change the look of towers.

Finally, it shows how the Shard, the highest residential tower in Europe, compares when measured against some of the tallest buildings in the world.

Stephan Miles-Brown, Head of Knight Frank Residential Development, says:

“This is London's decade of towers: with residential land values up 20.3% in the last twelve months and a population boom, a need for the most effective use of space is evident. However, only 30% of the schemes including towers with planning permission are underway – partially a symptom of the challenging funding climate. The well-designed, centrally-located towers we will see succeed in the next few years will have a definite cachet – the clear premium for living at the top is a key driver in the development of a tower.”

Paul Cohen, Partner at EC Harris,

“We are continuing to see a complex inter-relationship between land values, construction costs and sales values on many high rise schemes. The need for properly thought out sensitivity testing of varying heights, building shapes and efficiencies is key to project optimisation.”

Chris Brett, Partner at Barton Willmore said:

“In a thriving city such as London, tall towers work and are recognised as having an important role to play. They allow many thousands more people to live and work in the central zone and near major transport hubs and have tremendous power to regenerate the area around them.
“We are seeing the emergence of more and more tall buildings away from the central commercial district. New developments in the likes of Lewisham, Chelsea and Hackney underline both the political support and market demand for tall buildings.”


For further information, please contact:

Rosie Cade, Knight Frank Residential Development PR Manager, t: +44 (0)20 7861 1068, +44 (0) 7500 033488,

Gráinne Gilmore, Head of UK Residential Research, t: +44 (0)20 7861 5102 / +44 (0)7785 527 145,

Andy Rowlands, Group PR Manager, EC Harris, +44 (0) 20 7833 6662/

James Watson, Barton Willmore PR Account Director, t: +44 (0)20 7087 3260,

Notes to Editors
Knight Frank LLP is the leading independent global property consultancy. Headquartered in London, Knight Frank and its New York-based global partner, Newmark Knight Frank, operate from 244 offices, in 43 countries, across six continents. More than 7,067 professionals handle in excess of US$817 billion (£498 billion) worth of commercial, agricultural and residential real estate annually, advising clients ranging from individual owners and buyers to major developers, investors and corporate tenants. For further information about the Company, please visit

EC Harris is a leading global Built Asset Consultancy. As an ARCADIS company, we have access to approximately 21,000 professionals worldwide operating in over 70 countries, 300 offices and generating in excess of €2.4billion in revenue. Working across a wide range of market sectors, we help our clients make the most from the money they spend on their built assets. For more information visit

Established in 1936, Barton Willmore is one the UK's leading independent planning and design practices. The practice became an LLP on 1st April 2009. Barton Willmore offers comprehensive planning, masterplanning, landscape design, project management, design and regeneration expertise. The practice acts for both private and public sector clients across all types of development, from key national urban regeneration sites to a local village hall. Barton Willmore has ten regional offices around the UK: Reading, London, Leeds, Solihull, Bristol, Cambridge, Ebbsfleet, Manchester, Cardiff and Edinburgh. Notable developments on which Barton Willmore is working include: St George's Wharf and Vauxhall Tower, Kidbrooke Village, Chester Zoo, Coed Darcy, Gateshead BIG, Glasgow HA Regeneration and the former Cadbury Factory in Keynsham. International projects include the France EcoCité programme, Monsoon Initiative in Mumbai and Al-Loundah in Riyadh.

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