London’s Battersea Development Lures $1 Billion in Home Sales

London’s Battersea Power Station site has attracted buyers who have reserved about 95 percent of apartments and townhouses worth about 681 million pounds ($1 billion) since January, according to the developer.

Purchasers have signed sales contracts on 824 of the 866 homes in Circus West, the project’s first phase, Battersea Power Station Development Company said in an e-mailed statement today. SP Setia Bhd. and Sime Darby Bhd. led a Malaysian consortium which bought the site for 400 million pounds in July after its previous owner was put into administration.

London’s reputation as a haven is attracting increasing investment from overseas buyers, who make up half of the city’s new-home purchasers, according to figures from Chicago-based broker Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. Foreigners, six out of seven of whom plan to rent out the properties they buy in London, spent more than 3 billion pounds on new homes in the U.K. capital last year, 25 percent more than in 2011, the broker said.

“We’ve seen phenomenal interest which has continued unabated over the last few months,” Rob Tincknell, the developer’s chief executive officer, said in the statement. The pace of sales makes Circus West “one of the fastest selling developments in London in recent years,” he said.

Album Cover

Battersea Power Station, featured on the cover of Pink Floyd’s 1977 album “Animals,” has frustrated a series of developers since it closed more than 29 years ago.

SP Setia and palm oil producer Sime Darby each own 40 percent of the developer. The Employees Provident Fund, which oversees $176 billion for more than 13 million Malaysians, owns the rest.

The Battersea development is part of the Vauxhall Nine Elms Battersea Opportunity Area south of the River Thames and across from the Kensington & Chelsea and Westminster boroughs. It is London’s largest redevelopment area and includes a new U.S. embassy and an extension of the London underground.

Construction of Circus West will begin in July and will be completed by 2017, the developer said today. It will include one, two and three-bedroom apartments, townhouses and penthouses, and have a commercial component including offices, retail and hospitality

Reservation fees were around 2,500 pounds for the apartments, which cost as much as 3.3 million pounds for a 2,383 square-foot (221 square-meters) property including outdoor space, Jo Eccles, managing director of broker Sourcing Property, said in January.

Less than a mile from the Battersea station, Ballymore Group Ltd. is developing Embassy Gardens, where a three-bedroom apartment is being marketed for 2 million pounds, according to the developer’s website.