Prop­erty Mar­ket

From fam­ily homes redo­lent with his­tory to el­e­gant new turnkey apart­ments, the cap­i­tal is com­ing back to life

Country Life Every Week - - Contents -

Lon­don’s race for space shows promise, says Penny Churchill

IN a year that saw higher taxes and po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic un­cer­tainty sup­press prime Lon­don res­i­den­tial val­ues by 4.9% over­all, a re­port from Sav­ills Res­i­den­tial Re­search sug­gests that the very top end of the mar­ket was more ac­tive in 2016 than in the pre­vi­ous year, with £1.43 bil­lion be­ing spent on prop­er­ties worth more than £20 mil­lion in the 11 months to the end of Novem­ber 2016, com­pared with £1.07 bil­lion for the whole of 2015.

Re­al­is­tic price ad­just­ments, cou­pled with the cur­rency play for in­ter­na­tional buy­ers, ap­pear to have trig­gered greater buyer com­mit­ment and prime Lon­don sales vol­umes picked up sig­nif­i­cantly from Septem­ber 2016 on­wards, Sav­ills say. In a mar­ket­place in­creas­ingly split be­tween over­seas buy­ers look­ing for se­cure, ser­vice-driven, turnkey de­vel­op­ments and dis­cern­ing home-grown or Uk-based buy­ers, who will wait for as long as it takes to get their hands on one of those spe­cial fam­ily houses that sit tucked away in quiet, leafy corners of the cap­i­tal, it looks as if ven­dors and buy­ers are ready to move.

For James Gow of Strutt & Parker’s Kens­ing­ton of­fice (020–7938 3666),

28, Hyde Park Gate, SW7 (Fig 1), is one of those ‘very spe­cial’ houses and came to the mar­ket in Septem­ber 2016, at a guide price of £23m. The Lon­don home of Sir Win­ston Churchill and Baroness Spencer-churchill from 1945 un­til his death in Jan­uary 1965 (as its prom­i­nent Blue Plaque tes­ti­fies), this im­pres­sive and ex­cep­tion­ally wide, seven-bed­room fam­ily house boasts some 5,760sq ft of clev­erly ar­ranged liv­ing space on four floors, in­clud­ing a large draw­ing room (Fig 2) with doors lead­ing onto the won­der­fully pri­vate, 55ft-long, west-fac­ing gar­den.

For the past 20-odd years, the land­mark, mid-19th-cen­tury, brick-built house, listed Grade Ii—in­cor­po­rat­ing neigh­bour­ing 27, Hyde Park Gate, which served as of­fice ac­com­mo­da­tion for Churchill’s staff—has been the fam­ily home of its present, low­pro­file owner, who car­ried out a ma­jor re­fur­bish­ment in the early years of her ten­ure. Ide­ally lo­cated within a short walk of the beau­ti­fully kept grounds of Kens­ing­ton Gar­dens, the house, ac­cord­ing to its list­ing, has been ‘con­sid­er­ably al­tered’ in­ter­nally since it was of­fered for sale by Knight Frank & Rut­ley in Oc­to­ber 1965, although, ex­ter­nally, it still ex­udes the spirit of ‘old Kens­ing­ton’.

‘Five years ago, the Kens­ing­ton mar­ket was cry­ing out for high-end, new-build de­vel­op­ments with large lat­eral apart­ments to sat­isfy de­mand not only from in­ter­na­tional buy­ers look­ing to ac­quire a has­sle-free Lon­don base with “all the bells and whis­tles”, plus full se­cu­rity and concierge ser­vices, but also from own­ers of large Kens­ing­ton houses look­ing to down­size. We now have four world­class new de­vel­op­ments within the Royal Bor­ough: Vicarage Gate House, W8; One Kens­ing­ton Gar­dens, W8; Hol­land Green Place, W8; and—one of last year’s ma­jor suc­cess sto­ries— Hol­land Park Vil­las, W8,’ re­veals Sami Robert­son of Knight Frank’s Kens­ing­ton of­fice.

Vicarage Gate House is a pres­ti­gious scheme of 13 su­perb apart­ments, built by Vicarage Gate Ltd and well­known Lon­don de­vel­oper Northacre, and per­fectly sit­u­ated be­tween High Street Kens­ing­ton and fash­ion­able Not­ting Hill, along­side the man­sions of Kens­ing­ton Palace Gar­dens. The sell­ing agents are Hamp­tons In­ter­na­tional Kens­ing­ton (020–7937 9371).

One Kens­ing­ton Gar­dens (Fig 5) is an exclusive de­vel­op­ment of 97 spa­cious apart­ments de­signed by the ar­chi­tect David Chip­per­field and lo­cated op­po­site Kens­ing­ton Palace and Gar­dens. Res­i­dents en­joy ac­cess to a 24hour concierge ser­vice, valet park­ing, a health spa, a 25m (82ft) in­door pool and a pri­vate health and fit­ness cen­tre, in ad­di­tion to pri­vate treat­ment rooms. Knight Frank (020–7938 4311) and Strutt & Parker (020–7318 4677) are joint sell­ing agents.

Hol­land Green Place is a state-ofthe-art new de­vel­op­ment built around the new Lon­don De­sign Mu­seum on the site of the for­mer Com­mon­wealth In­sti­tute, on the south­ern edge of Hol­land Park. It com­prises three res­i­den­tial build­ings—62 flats in all— and of­fers a wealth of fa­cil­i­ties, in­clud­ing a se­cure bar­rier en­trance, 24-hour concierge ser­vice, se­cure un­der­ground park­ing with lift ac­cess to each build­ing, a 20m (65ft) swim­ming pool, sauna and steam room, a gym, mas­sage and treat­ment rooms, a pri­vate cin­ema, a golf sim­u­la­tor, a chil­dren’s play­room and a busi­ness suite.

Knight Frank quote a guide price of £16.5m for the re­sale of 51, Hol­land

‘UK buy­ers want one of those spe­cial fam­ily houses’

Green—a spec­tac­u­lar 4,370sq ft, lat­eral, sixth-floor apart­ment with vast en­ter­tain­ing space, ceil­ing heights of 10ft, floor-to-ceil­ing win­dows, four bed­rooms, four bath­rooms and far-reach­ing views to the west, south and east.

Fi­nally, Hol­land Park Vil­las is an exclusive de­vel­op­ment of 72 pri­vate apart­ments on a two-acre site pur­chased from the Royal Bor­ough of Kens­ing­ton and Chelsea in Jan­uary 2010, in a joint ven­ture be­tween Na­tive Land and Grosvenor. The scheme will also in­clude 96 af­ford­able homes to be built on three sep­a­rate sites across the Royal Bor­ough. Due for com­ple­tion in March 2017, the de­vel­op­ment is in­tended to set a new benchmark for ul­tra-prime prop­er­ties in cen­tral Lon­don.

In stark con­trast to the cur­rent build­ing frenzy in stately Kens­ing­ton, the scene around el­e­gant Arch­way House (Fig 3) on the north side of ver­dant Clapham Com­mon has changed lit­tle since it was built, be­tween 1714 and 1720, by car­pen­ter John Hutt as part of a ter­race of fine, early-18th­cen­tury houses. Un­usual in scale, be­ing seven bays wide with 7,433sq ft of liv­ing space, the in­te­rior of the house is re­mark­able for the pris­tine state of its orig­i­nal ar­chi­tec­tural fea­tures, fire­places, sash win­dows, pan­elling and stair­case. The gar­den to the rear is an im­pres­sive 103ft in length and the for­mal gar­den to the front is set be­hind del­i­cate pe­riod rail­ings.

A large draw­ing room with a splen­did Queen Anne fire­place oc­cu­pies the full depth of the house and has views of both front and rear gar­dens. Two more pan­elled rooms com­plete the ground floor. The lower-ground floor con­sists of a kitchen-cum-fam­ily din­ing room with ac­cess to both gar­dens, a charm­ing for­mal din­ing room, a larder/ wine cel­lar and util­ity rooms.

The first floor houses a grand re­cep­tion room with an­tique par­quet floor­ing, two more el­e­gantly pan­elled rooms and an an­tique fit­ted li­brary. The sec­ond floor has a mas­ter bed­room suite and two fur­ther bed­rooms with en-suite bath­rooms. The third floor, ac­cessed by a ‘Chi­nese Chip­pen­dale’ stair­case, has two spa­cious bed­room/sit­ting rooms, one lead­ing to a roof ter­race, with both hav­ing en-suite shower rooms.

Cur­rently for sale through Sav­ills (020–3430 6900) at a guide price of £8.5m, Arch­way House has been the cher­ished fam­ily home of the ac­com­plished key­board player Linda Ni­chol­son for the past 30 years, pro­vid­ing a show­case for her ex­ten­sive col­lec­tion of pe­riod mu­si­cal in­stru­ments (Fig

4) and a stage for her reg­u­lar recitals, which draw au­di­ences south of the river from far and wide.

Back across the Thames, Trevor Abram­sohn of north Lon­don agents Glen­tree In­ter­na­tional is whistling a happy tune for the first time in many moons. ‘Ac­tiv­ity in the mar­ket­place was sur­pris­ingly brisk be­fore the Christ­mas re­cess, with three or four homes be­ing sold be­tween £3m and £4m in a sin­gle day. If the present level of ac­tiv­ity is any­thing to go by, it looks as if prospec­tive pur­chasers may ac­tu­ally come out to play, even at this early time of the year.’

He adds: ‘We’re “nurs­ing” an en­quiry from Asia for a £50m man­sion set in grounds, yet there is sur­pris­ingly lit­tle out there to buy, even for this hu­mon­gous fig­ure. Added to that, a UK buyer who’s been on our books for 10 years has just de­cided to make a bid on a £20m new house in Ken­wood. It makes you won­der why this in­ter­est has re­mained dor­mant for so long.’

‘Prospec­tive pur­chasers may come out to play

Fig 1: The spirit of ‘old Kens­ing­ton’: the ‘very spe­cial’ for­mer home of Sir Win­ston Churchill at 28, Hyde Park Gate, SW7. £23m

Fig 2: The large draw­ing room leads onto the won­der­fully pri­vate 55ft-long gar­den

Fig 4: Linda Ni­chol­son has made the house a show­case for her col­lec­tion of pe­riod mu­si­cal in­stru­ments

Fig 3: Charm­ing Arch­way House sits on the ver­dant north side of Clapham Com­mon, SW4. £8.5m

Fig 5: One Kens­ing­ton Gar­dens is an exclusive de­vel­op­ment of 97 spa­cious apart­ments lo­cated op­po­site Kens­ing­ton Palace, W8

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