Stoke Newington flats sold to people who have never seen them after VIRTUAL REALITY tours

'Seems sturdy enough,' Pete remarks, inspecting the virtual kitchen as he repeatedly smashes a hand

'Seems sturdy enough,' Pete remarks, inspecting the virtual kitchen as he repeatedly smashes a hand into his own knee. Picture: Higgins Homes - Credit: Archant

Persuading Hackney’s first-time buyers to make what is likely to be their biggest investment yet without setting foot inside the property is no mean feat.

A photograph - no longer apparently good enough for Stoke Newington house buyers - of a sitting room

A photograph - no longer apparently good enough for Stoke Newington house buyers - of a sitting room in Clissold Quarter. Picture: Higgins Homes - Credit: Archant

But thanks to new virtual reality technology the developer of the Clissold Quarter managed to sell almost a third of the 158 flats, which start at £480,000 for a one-bed and £620,000 for a two-bed, before even the show flat was ready.

The scheme is part of the Kings Crescent Estate regeneration with the sale of private units funding several social rented and shared ownership homes as well as the refurbishment of existing ones.

It is being developed by Higgins Homes and Hackney Council, who imposed restrictions on marketing to large-scale investors and overseas buyers.

Higgins Homes says it is one of the first developers to use virtual reality headsets to sell new homes.


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Its sales and marketing director Jeremy Marcus said: “Our target market is first- or second-time buyers who won’t have experience of buying off plan, so we needed to give them an experience of the finished product without having a show apartment.

“The virtual reality surpassed our expectations. It gave buyers a sense of the size and proportion of rooms and the specification, and you can see that the kitchens are fitted to a very high standard.

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“We wouldn’t expect to do as well as we have at that advance phase of marketing.”

More than 50 units were sold before show apartments were launched last week. Overall, 91 flats have been sold or reserved, 84 to owner occupiers and seven to investors.

“We’ll definitely use the virtual reality headsets again if we’re selling a large volume scheme,” Mr Marcus added, “particularly to a younger and more inexperienced buying market.”

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