AREA FOCUS: KNIGHTSBRIDGE
Only the best will do in this most exclusive of London hotspots, with both buyers and tenants expecting property perfection, says Karen Tait
Luxury is a byword in Knightsbridge, as is exclusive. Whether you’re buying designer clothing, a statement interiors piece, a fine dining experience or a home, this is London living at its ultimate. There’s nowhere else quite like Knightsbridge.
‘Knightsbridge’s appeal exudes from a number of historically significant local landmarks, including the Royal Albert Hall and Harrods,’ comments Ben Morris of Savills. ‘Developments like One Hyde Park and The Knightsbridge have also embedded worldwide interest in the area, while Hyde Park continues to provide beautiful open space in the heart of the capital.
‘From grand mansions to apartments, the prime areas radiating from Knightsbridge contain some of the most desirable properties on the market. Classic period townhouses, ultra-prime new-build apartments, penthouses and cottage-style houses tucked away down quiet mews are all buyer favourites.’
The area attracts some of the world’s wealthiest people, for whom only the best will do, and this is reflected in their property buying habits too.
‘Knightsbridge is well documented for being prestigious in many forms, which is why it is incredibly popular – especially with overseas investors,’ says Simon Godson of W.A.Ellis.
‘The garden squares in particular are hugely sought after as they offer spectacular views and open space, which for central London is extremely desirable. There are also many sought-after purpose-built portered blocks offering lateral living and security, and many offer underground parking and gymnasiums which overseas buyers often appreciate.’
Facilities and services are obviously important when it comes to luxury properties but the condition is key too.
‘New-build and immaculately refurbished properties remain very popular in Knightsbridge – with lateral living remaining the most coveted feature,’ reports James Gilbert-Green of Strutt & Parker. ‘Buyers continue to be willing to pay a premium of up to 30% for properties which require absolutely no work and can be moved into immediately.
‘Our buyers are looking for instant gratification, just as they would if they were picking a designer handbag off the shelf in an exclusive store, and they are not interested in buying properties that require modernisation and carry with them the hassle of applying for planning permission and dealing with builders.
‘One could call it ‘The Candy Effect’ as the Candy brothers were amongst the first to truly grasp this trend a decade ago. We are selling three Candy & Candy designed properties in Knightsbridge at the moment, all of which feature sophisticated ‘hotel chic’ Candy & Candy designed interiors.’
He adds that ‘Western Europeans tend to prefer properties overlooking garden squares, whilst Middle Eastern purchasers covet close proximity to Harrods above all else.’
Tenants also expect properties to be well presented, as Lisa-Jane Stratton of Benham & Reeves Residential Lettings explains: ‘They’re used to seeing details for new-build properties and expect other rental properties to be of a similar standard, with good quality kitchens and bathrooms in particular. A property with tired fixtures and fittings won’t attract many enquiries so investing in presentation really pays off.
‘Convenience is high on most tenants’ wish lists too,’ she adds, ‘and they prefer properties close to a Tube station – most will compromise on square footage and even amenities if a property is near good transport links, allowing them to reduce their commute.’
‘The rental market in Knightsbridge ranges from studio flats at under £500 per week to houses in excess of £4,000 a week, thus attracting a great range of tenants,’ reports Jennifer Reid of Savills. ‘British tenants account for close to a third of the market, while Western Europeans and North Americans are hot on their heels, particularly in the £2,000 per week plus price bracket.’