Homes with links to A-listers can expect to see a boost in value when they hit the market, according to new research by a London-based ultra-prime property specialist

Lead image: Nicky and Lesley Clarke’s former home in St John’s Wood (all photography courtesy of Aston Chase)

With our insatiable appetite for all-things celebrity – what they where, who they date, where they go – this news may come as no surprise, but by just how much an A-lister can lift a property value may raise an eyebrow.

Property owned or rented by celebrities, or those with famous past residents, can add up to 10% to the asking price, says ultra-prime estate agent Aston Chase.

Operating in some of London’s most prestigious residential addresses, including St John’s Wood, Marylebone, Regent’s Park, Belsize Park, Primrose Hill and Hampstead, Aston Chase has become known for marketing luxury homes owned by the rich and famous.

In 2020 alone, the estate agent was instructed to market homes in London with past residents including Rihanna, Mark Carney, Ellie Goulding, Dua Lipa, Damien Hirst and Robbie Williams.

Due to a combination of shifting attitudes among celebrities, who are increasingly open to sharing their personal lives via social media, as well as members of the public spotting and sharing celebrity homes online, and the open manner in which the ownership of properties has to be registered, there has been a significant sea-change in celebrity attitudes towards collaborating with agents instructed to market their properties.

Ten years ago, most celebrities would have been reluctant to collaborate in a property marketing exercise. But this year, of the celebrity instructions handled by Aston Chase, 70% of the vendors have been willing to authorise marketing campaigns for their property.

‘Celebrity endorsement has become the modern day Blue Plaque,’ says Mark Pollack, co-Founding Director of Aston Chase.

‘Celebrity endorsement has become the modern day Blue Plaque’

‘A property owned by an A-list celebrity can add to the material value of the instruction and generate worldwide exposure. Likewise a famous celebrity resident can help to endorse the importance and value of an address.

‘We have found that homes and addresses associated with extremely famous people help to generate significant enquiries from potential buyers and tenants who feel they are buying a property endorsed by its celebrity association.’

When lockdown restrictions were eased at the end of May 2020, two notable deals were high-profile celebrity homes – the first was former Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney’s £5.5 million house in South Hampstead, and the second the was hair tycoon Lesley Clarke’s £11.95 million home in Queen’s Grove, St John’s Wood.

Historically, celebrities have always made their mark on an area. Paul McCartney effectively put Cavendish Avenue on the map as a prime sought-after address (see Google Maps, below).

Likewise Rihanna made St John’s Wood Park famous, with media interviews and the star’s own Instagram stories leading to wide reporting the NW8 mansion during her two-and-a-half years there (see Google Maps, below).

Damian Hirst added to the cachet of Hanover Terrace (see Google Maps, below) and Anthony Joshua helped to put Avenue Road on the map, while Tom Ford did the same for Regent’s Park when he moved there, Tottenham’s Harry Kane and Gareth Bale helped to make The Bishop’s Avenue fashionable again, and both Madonna and Ellie Goulding did the same for Marylebone.

But while some are happy to share their homes on social media and talk about the joys of living in their chosen area, many are keen to keep a low profile, like Kate Moss in Melina Place (see Google Maps, below) and Greville Road, and Paul McCartney in St John’s Wood. Emma Watson also tried to remain low key in St John’s Wood, but her presence was publicised on social media.

The common denominators of A-list celebrity homes – typically priced from £5 million up to £30 million – are privacy (they tend to be set back off the street), gated driveways and garaging with direct access into the property for discreet entry and exit.

Celebrity rentals are typically priced anywhere between £5,000 and £20,000 per week,  and the occupant can stay for anything from three months to two years.

Short lets tend to be taken by celebrities filming in London for a few months, with famous examples including Tom Cruise and Harrison Ford. Some celebrities also rent while their own homes are being refurbished, like Robbie Williams and Sting and Trudi Styler. Others choose to rent in London for several years for personal or business reasons, like Rihanna.