Trend Spotter

What makes ‘prime’ property prime

‘Prime central London property’ is the buzzword amongst buyers – many of them increasingly from overseas. Amid economic Armageddon, increased stamp duty, and property prices falling in numerous areas and sectors, ‘prime central London property’ has continued to perform in a way that bears little or no relation to the rest of the property market. Recent research indicates that prime Central London prices have risen more than 15% since the 2008 high.

So what makes prime Central London prime? And what protects it from normal market forces?

Period property tends to outperform new stock. Supply is seriously limited within central London, and the market is global – driven by international forces. And there’s always somewhere in the World that thinks it’s the right time to be buying property in London. If it’s not the Chinese or the Arabs, it’s the Russians or the Americans.

Buyers at this level will have expert advisors. And while they will clearly be looking for value, what’s most important to them is that they buy property that’s going to keep its value, show good growth, and a reasonable rental return. To achieve all this, there’s a very straightforward list of benefits that establishes ‘prime’, and distinguishes the best from the rest.

  • Victorian, Edwardian or Georgian properties, impeccably renovated or not renovated at all
  • New conversions in period buildings
  • Apartments should be 1st floor or 2nd floor
  • Good proportions
  • Primary location is crucial
  • Central London
  • Quiet road
  • Close to local amenities
  • Within 5 minutes of underground
  • Lateral conversions are a bonus
  • Garden square properties also a bonus

If you can’t tick all the above boxes, the description (and associated price tag) can no longer be applied.

Compromises, such as basement apartments, or walk-ups above 2nd floor, or a noisy road, will immediately down-grade the description from ‘prime’ to ‘good’. It goes without saying that the value of London property will always reflect the number of boxes ticked, but equally importantly, the prime property will always be easier to sell. The market for ‘prime’ property is much bigger than for none-prime neighbours.

We’re selling a good example of this kind of cast iron investment. A perfectly formed apartment in one of central London’s incomparable addresses: Lennox Gardens, SW1X, a secluded garden square in Knightsbridge’s golden shopping triangle. Distinctive architecture; quiet street; beautiful outlook; high ceilings; perfect proportions; high-spec renovation; raised ground floor; two tube stations within easy walking distance; every prime box is ticked.

The apartment is leasehold, has two bedrooms, and amounts to 1,314 sq. ft. of accommodation. Guide price £3.1m. You can see the details here.

But where does all this leave buyers in central London who are buying property to live in, not as part of an investment portfolio?

Use the same rules to your advantage. Decide what your lifestyle allows you to compromise on, and seek out value by looking at property that misses some of the golden rules. There may be benefits in the process – good outside space from some lower ground floor properties – so great for families and pet owners; and good views from apartments on higher floors.

Bella Tellwright