City and Fringes
The City of London is a small area within Greater London. It is the historic core of London around which, along with Westminster, the modern conurbation grew. The City's boundaries have remained almost constant since the Middle Ages, and hence it is now only a tiny part of the much larger London metropolis. It is often referred to as the City or as the Square Mile, because it is almost exactly one square mile in area. Within Europe's financial heartland, flat sales tend to be rare and usually only occur between merchant bankers, or investors. The market is governed by the economical health of the City. EC2 can be split into three areas: the City, the area north of Broadgate/Liverpool Street and the Barbican. The area can still be regarded as primarily commercial, (with tall glass fronted buildings on every side, shops and bars that bustle with workers nine-to-five, yet lie deserted at the weekend. However, in reality, over the past decade, the city has undergone a renaissance in its role as a residential borough.
Office blocks and warehouses have been converted into smart new apartments. Homes are reappearing among the offices and on the fringes, including: Hoxton, Shoreditch, Holborn and Fleet Street. The Barbican complex has 2000 modern flats and a few houses, which have become quite cool. Their success can be measured by the fact that only 10% of the flats are now being rented from the City Corporation (the rest are now leaseholds) and they were also granted Grade II listed status in 2001. In Spitalfields and Smithfield there are company flats, a few ex-council homes and a range of new flats and conversions, although, period homes are rare in these areas. Prices are often quoted in pounds per square foot in the City.
In comparison to the West End, prices can often be better value here. Buyers include busy city workers, who are eager to avoid the hassle of a long commute. Hoxton and Shoreditch have become very fashionable in recent years, attracting many young creatives and professionals.