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August 23, 2022
Jeremy McGivern
Posted in: How do I find the best properties?

Where is the best area to live in London?

Where is the best area to live in London?

This is a question I am often asked by my clients, but it very much depends on what you want. One thing I have noticed in over 20 years of advising our clients on their Prime London property acquisitions is that they receive all sorts of well-meaning advice from their friends on where they should live, but their friends rarely ask the simple questions like “what do you need to be near?” and “what type of area do you like?”.

For example, I have clients in Belgravia who could think of nothing worse than living in Notting Hill while I have similarly wealthy clients in Notting Hill for whom living in Belgravia would be purgatory.

In other words, “the best area” means different things to different people. So, the question is which area is best for you? This is why I have a range of questions I ask our clients to establish what they like and then recommend areas accordingly (if you would like to know more about this simply email my assistant dee@mercuryhomesearch.com).

Of course, just focussing on the best areas isn’t enough. There are plenty of dreadful properties in world-renowned addresses like Knightsbridge, Belgravia and Chelsea that you should avoid. Similarly, the best investment opportunities aren’t necessarily in the best areas, so you need to be very aware of which properties will outperform the market.

How important is this?

Research by Savills showed that “Between 2005 and 2013 the top decile of properties in Prime Central London increased in price 190% while the bottom 10% increased 63%”.

Now considering that period included the Great financial Crisis 63% isn’t bad, but would it be wrong to suggest that you would prefer a 190% increase, irrespective of whether you are buying a home or investment?

Which part of London is the most expensive?

Well, it depends on what you mean by expensive. Is that price per square foot or simply the capital value of the property? It could also mean “which areas are overvalued?” but that is a more complicated question that I don’t have time to address here.

You will read in the press about “The most expensive streets in London” and I have to say that I disagree with almost all of the articles. So, for clarity, if you would like to know which is the most expensive street in London in terms of capital values, it is Kensington Palace Gardens.

This road runs between Kensington Palace and Kensington High Street. It has armed guards at both ends and the houses are absolutely stunning. An entry level house is over £100m. There are a handful of apartments at the northern end of the road near the Russian Embassy while there are more apartments at the southern end in the section known as Palace Green near the Israeli Embassy.

However, Kensington as a whole is not the most expensive part of London by some distance.

The most expensive apartments can be found in Knightsbridge and Mayfair in developments such as One Hyde Park, Grosvenor Square and the penthouse at The Peninsula on the fringe of Belgravia overlooking Hyde Park Corner has reportedly sold for over £10,000 per square foot.

But, these headline numbers and almost everything you read in the press are far too general to be of any real use to you. If you wish to make an astute acquisition – be that a home or investment – you must have better information and more accurate data than the average buyer, otherwise how can you expect to find the best property your money can buy and negotiate the lowest price/most favourable terms possible?

Fortunately, there is a tested and proven method for having first refusal on the best opportunities. We have mastered it. And if you would like to know more about it, simply email my assistant at dee@mercuryhomesearch.com to arrange a call.

Here are just a couple of testimonials from our clients to show the results we achieve:

The property was 28% below our maximum budget and the price agreed was £335,000 below the maximum we had set for the property, so our investment in him more than paid for itself.” Mr & Mrs Cole (Chelsea)

What I found most impressive was that the asking price of this apartment was 2/3 of the upper end of my budget…

In preparation for the offer Jeremy did all of the homework, showed us the comps and devised a negotiation strategy. His initial offer was much lower than I would have made despite the fact I handle negotiations as a regular part of my job. Indeed, the strategy he devised meant that I acquired the property at a favourable price and for less than the maximum price we had targeted, once again showing that he had my best interests at heart.

He continued to add value after the price had been agreed because the legal process was more complicated than I had anticipated and there were issues that required solving as the building is listed and in a conservation area, but he and the team of solicitors he recommended handled this smoothly and Jeremy also negotiated a further price reduction.

Consequently, we now own an exceptional apartment in a great location which we would not have found and acquired at such a good price without Jeremy’s help.” Mr M Stoleson (Belgravia)

If you would like to know more about the methods I use to give our clients first refusal on the best opportunities and negotiate prices they often don’t think possible, simply email my assistant at dee@mercuryhomesearch.com to arrange a call.

About the author, Jeremy McGivern

My name is Jeremy McGivern. I am the founder of Mercury Homesearch, the internationally renowned property search consultancy, and author of The Insider’s Guide To Acquiring Luxury Property in Prime Central London. I have been acquiring property in prime central London for clients for over 13 years.

Having physically viewed over 22,000 properties in prime central London, studied the details of over 153,400 apartments, houses and investment opportunities and spoken to 232+ estate agents every week for over a decade.

My advice is in high demand and has featured everywhere from Bloomberg Television, The Financial Times and The Daily Telegraph to Forbes India and Bahrain Confidential.

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