There was a time when the higher above ground a property, the more money it could fetch. Among the rich and famous, if it wasn't a penthouse, it wasn't worth having. However, it seems the tides are starting to turn slightly and now - in London at least - prime real estate is often found underground. Kate Maitland, a 43-year-old horse-breeder from Hampshire, is just one example of how profit can be made from a basement.
The savvy developer explained to the Daily Mail how she exploited the comparatively cheap prices of basement units, buying a succession across West London. She then renovated them, rented them and used the equity she accrued to move up the property ladder.
Ms Maitland's first acquisition was in West Brompton in 2008 - a basement she bought for GBP 310,000. She is now selling her latest property in Cheyne Walk, Chelsea, for GBP 700,000. "I mainly work with lower-ground-floor flats as I know they are generally not the dark, damp, pokey basement many people seem to visualise them as before viewing them," she told the newspaper. "The lower-grounds I look for are usually part of large, impressive houses, with steps leading upstairs to the ground floor."
With the right lights and modern interiors, Ms Maitland is able to sell her renovated basements for much more than she paid for them. Her second development - the former home of 19th century Irish painter John Butler Yeats and then the madam Cynthia Payne - was bought for GBP 371,000 and sold for GBP 560,000, after an GBP 80,000 refurbishment.
However, basements aren't just attracting those looking for an apartment and the wealthy are increasingly going in search of homes that come complete with an underground floor. Not only does this offer extra space, but it is becoming a must for those who want to add an additional touch of luxury. Be it a cinema, pool, bowling alley or library, investors are certainly seeing the potential of basements to offer a unique space.
- Thursday 28 February 2013