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Insights into the Prime Central London Property Market from Harrods Estates

by internationalbanker

By Simon Barry, Director of New Developments at Harrods Estates


Harrods Estates is a specialist estate agency with a unique portfolio of properties in super-prime areas of London, England, including Knightsbridge, Mayfair, Kensington and Chelsea. As part of the Harrods Group, our reputation precedes us—and we work hard to ensure that we earn it. From large, lateral apartments in luxurious purpose-built buildings to historic townhouses overlooking glorious garden squares, we help clients across the globe. Whether they are searching for a primary residence, occasional pied-à-terre or investment property, we offer unparalleled local expertise and discretion to a truly international array of clients.

There is no doubt that 2020 has been a year of change. We have been quick to adapt to the so-called “new normal” at an operational level by investing in virtual marketing and being pro-active when it comes to staying in touch remotely with key clients. We are advising clients to take a long-term view, offering a pragmatic perspective, especially as the UK Government is likely to make further announcements in the autumn.

However, there are several positives to be taken from our analysis of the property market. Prime Central London (PCL) property is now looking more affordable after a sustained period of price adjustments. Across the last 12 months, prices have stabilised, following five years of declining prices since 2015. Moreover, the approximate 20-percent fall in the pound sterling has made the capital an attractive market for US-dollar buyers.

It would be fair to say that the current crop of completed developments will be the last for a while as the PCL-development pipeline has now contracted again due to high land prices over the past few years and a tougher planning environment for private residential development. Fortunately, London has managed to retain its position as a global financial centre despite the impact of Brexit and also because of its growing reputation as the leading capital of tech in Europe.

When looking at the last four months specifically, the COVID-19 lockdown has highlighted London’s residential appeal to UK and international buyers as a city of green spaces and interconnecting urban villages, each with its own character and locality. As people spend more time at home, the importance of location has become more pronounced. With the average five-year, fixed-rate mortgage in the UK having fallen from around 3.75 percent in 2015 to 1.75 percent, there has never been a cheaper time to finance a property. And even a relatively modest reduction in the SDLT (Stamp Duty Land Tax) until March 31, 2021, is a real incentive for buyers not to delay.

As our portfolio of properties testifies, in uncertain times, London will retain its appeal as a safe haven from wider global political and economic instability; Knightsbridge, Belgravia and Mayfair are the blue-chip locations to which buyers retreat whenever there’s a “flight to quality”, and, as always, there is a relative shortage of properties available due to a lack of newbuilds and a tendency for existing owners to hold on to property for the long term, which enables prices to remain resilient.

Property spotlight:

Albert Court, Kensington Gore (price on application)

Harrods Estates is offering a four-bedroom apartment at Albert Court on Kensington Gore, directly opposite the Royal Albert Hall; it is surely a music lover’s dream home. This 3,523-square-foot, lateral apartment [I] occupies a prime double-aspect position on the second floor of a Grade II-listed landmark building, which boasts a spectacular entrance hall with a team of dedicated porters and 24-hour security. Within the apartment, there are two large reception rooms with high ceilings, an abundance of period detailing as well as a large kitchen/ breakfast room, four double bedrooms, three bathrooms and a very impressive reception hall. The master bedroom has not only a generous ensuite but also a large dressing room, ideal for preparing for an evening concert or a trip to a private viewing at one of the many museums in close proximity. The main reception room has a large bay window, and the two large terraces are ideal for entertaining or soaking up the sounds from the famous concert hall across the road.

Albert Court, named after Queen Victoria’s husband, shares a rich history with its musical neighbour; it was built just after the Royal Albert Hall in the late 19th century in a grand style, with spectacular proportions and architectural details. Its location on Kensington Gore means it is within walking distance of Knightsbridge and South Kensington to the south and Kensington High Street to the west, and it is directly opposite Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens.

Despite this year’s Proms (Henry Wood Promenade Concerts) moving to the virtual world, it will celebrate its 125th anniversary this year. This annual musical celebration is set to look a little different this year, but for those with an appreciation of rousing music and fortifying concertos, there are still exciting plans ahead. 2020 marks the 250th anniversary of Ludwig van Beethoven’s birth, so a unique First Night commission by Iain Farrington for a Grand Virtual Orchestra is planned.

Sulivan Road, Hurlingham, SW6 (£2,950,000)

Recent reports from a number of London agents have revealed an uptick in interest from city dwellers to make a change and either permanently move to the country or find a countryside retreat to which to escape. However, Harrods Estates can offer the best of both worlds for London workers with a penthouse in the heart of Fulham[II], moments from the bustling Parsons Green and within a perfect commuting distance, with countryside views.

This stunning penthouse apartment offers gorgeous views over the River Thames and Hurlingham Park and the gardens of the adjacent famed Hurlingham Club. In excess of 3,000 square feet, this property is the perfect spot to enjoy staying and working at home. The property also benefits from a large west-facing terrace to fully take in the surrounding views, and you really feel as if you’ve escaped to the country. With four double bedrooms, this apartment is also located near New Kings Road with easy access to Chelsea and Putney—ideal for a pleasant city stroll.

31 & 33 Chesham Street, Belgravia, Guide Price (£8,350,000)

Nestled in the heart of Thomas Cubitt’s Belgravia, this development[III] of four lateral and six duplex apartments has been completely redeveloped so that each apartment benefits from a private outdoor terrace or patio garden. This three-bedroom apartment is approximately 1,875 square feet and has direct lift access. It is a short walk from Sloane Square and the smart, independent boutiques on Elizabeth Street.

Property links

[I] https://www.harrodsestates.com/property/KNI200005/Kensington/
[ii] https://www.harrodsestates.com/property/KNI180015/Fulham/
[iii] https://www.harrodsestates.com/property/MFD180035/Belgravia/

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