Saturday, 17 March 2012

Why pay less?

London’s multi-million pound international property market

As I left the building where I live in Knightsbridge the other day I saw a somewhat ordinary looking Italian couple emerging from a neighbouring property where a flat is for sale. The estate agent enquired what the pair thought of the £4,000,000 maisonette they’d just viewed. Their response: “It’s just too cheap. Have you anything more expensive?”

Britain’s most expensive home: Hanover Lodge, 150 Park Road, London, NW8 7RP

The London property market, at the top end, is apparently booming. Yesterday’s Daily Mail included a piece by Rob Davis that described how estate agent Savills has over 50 houses on their books priced at more than £15,000,000 in London. The city, according to Rupert Sebag-Montefiore, chairman of Savills Residential UK, is:

“Detached [from the rest of the country]… It’s an international market and the higher you go up the price bracket, the more international it becomes.”

The Mails piece included a £22,500,000 18th century house in Richmond, a £32,500,000 freehold property in Chester Square in Belgravia and a £39,000,000 9-bedroom mansion in St John’s Wood but this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Last month the lease on the Grade II* listed Hanover Lodge in Regent’s Park, owned by former Conservative peer Lord Bagri, was sold to an unnamed Ukranian who was represented by Luca Del Bono’s O Private Office. For £120,000,000, the buyer got a 26,000 square foot main house renovated by architects Quinlan & Francis Terry LLP and a 7,000 square foot lodge as well as permission to dig a large basement extension.

Jersey House, 62 The Bishops Avenue, Hampstead, N2

The most expensive property currently available on is Jersey House on The Bishops Avenue in Hampstead, priced at £39,950,000. The favoured address of international despots and tycoons, The Bishops Avenue, also known as “Billionaire’s Row,” has variously been home to the likes of the Sultan of Brunei, actress and singer Dame Gracie Fields, steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal, Turkish Cypriot businessman Asil Nadir, press magnate Richard Desmond and Nursultan Nazarbavey, president of Kazakhstan. Jersey House, for sale through Glentree Interntational, is a newly built “ambassadorial residence” with 8-bedroom suites. Standing in 1.2 acres of grounds and featuring a leather lined lift, a professional catering kitchen which can easily cope with the needs of 200 guests, a 10.5m mosaic lined swimming pool, a private massage/hair salon and garaging for 4 limousines, this is a house of epic proportions.

The £100,000,000 Heath Hall, 59 The Bishops Avenue, Hampstead, N2 redeveloped by The Ability Group

Also available on The Bishops Avenue is the £100,000,000, 40,000 square foot Grade II listed Heath Hall. Restored by entreprenuer Andreas Panayiotou’s The Ability Group, this 17-bedroom mansion includes garaging for 10 cars and a panic room.

Andreas Panayiotou, Group Chairman and CEO of The Ability Group

Panayiotou, whose fascinating career was profiled in an Evening Standard piece by David Cohen last June, is a self-made mogul who does not know how to read. His company has restored the property’s Edwardian gardens whilst adding state-of-the-art technology, such as that that de-ices the driveway, as well as a vast leisure suite.

A terrace at the £32,000,000 Imperial Wharf, SW6 penthouse

Even in Fulham property listings have joined the super league with the sale of an apartment in Lensbury Avenue, Imperial Wharf, SW6. Available through Foxtons is a 12,359 square foot penthouse over three floors priced at an extraordinary £32,000,000. A merger of a number of flats, this 8-bedroom property includes various terraces and 6 underground parking spaces. Somehow I could not imagine a property in this location being worth such a price, but it will indeed be interesting to see the eventual figure it achieves.

The sitting room of the 2,890 square foot 2 bedroomed £18,500,000 apartment D.03.2 at One Hyde Park

A buyer seeking something smaller in a more central location can purchase a 2/3 bedroom apartment in One Hyde Park for £18,500,000 and count Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani, the Prime Minister of Qatar, Rinat Akhmetov, a Ukranian business oligarch, and supposedly, according to Wikipedia, even pop singer Kylie Minogue as neighbours. It’s hardly a bargain at £6,400 per square foot and though stylishly designed by Dutch interior architect Rients Bruinsma, this flat has a view of the busy A4 and A315 roads rather than of the park. At £41,101 for the fiscal year 2012, the service charge isn’t exactly cheap either but for that one gets access to amongst other things a 69ft swimming pool, squash court and a private screening room with 18 electronically operated reclinable seats.

The entrance to One Hyde Park

I met with an agent friend last week who was one of the few who spoke to the contrary regarding the sale of these multi-million pound homes. He said many are overpriced and fester on the market for many months before being sold at substantially lower prices. He cited an example in Queens Gate where a £5,500,000 apartment eventually sold for £4,500,000 many months later.

Similarly, outside London, Updown Court, priced by developer Leslie Allen-Vercoe at £75,000,000, only achieved £35,000,000 in a recent bank forced sale after 6 years on the market. Standing in 58 acres and featuring 103 rooms and 5 swimming pools, Allen-Vercoe, who recently appeared at Southwark Crown Court in a separate case, stated in one interview:

“If Elton John were a house, he’d be Updown Court.”

The 50,000 square foot Updown Court at Windlesham

Whilst prices for property across the UK, according to Knight Frank and Markit’s House Price Sentiment Index, will fall for the 21st consecutive month, the elite buying £15,000,000 plus properties continue to have plenty to choose from.

To these Russians, Ukrainians and Chinese, though, the mantra is indeed: “Why pay less when you can pay more?”

For more details on the O Private Office, go to:

For more information on Apartment D.03.2 at One Hyde Park, The Residences at The Mandarin Oriental, 100 Knightsbridge, London, SW1X 7LJ contact Strutt & Parker on +44 (0) 20 7235 9959: More information on One Hyde Park can be seen at:

For more information on Jersey House, 62 The Bishops Avenue, Hampstead, N2 0BE, contact Jeremy Gee of Glentree International on +44 (0) 20 8458 7311 or email: Further details can be viewed at and

For more information on Heath House, 59 The Bishops Avenue, Hampstead, London, N2 0BG, contact The Ability Group on +44 (0) 20 7580 1234 or email: Details of the property and images can be viewed at:,-the-bishops-avenue.html

For details of the penthouse in Leinsbury Avenue, Fulham, SW6, contact Foxtons on +44 (0) 20 7565 4000. Full details can be viewed at:

For more details on Updown Court, Chertsey Road, Windlesham, Surrey, GU20 6HY, go to:


Farrukh said...

A very different world!

Anonymous said...

Ludicrous. The Emperor's New Clothes.

Maddie said...

£32m in Fulham. Is someone having a chuckle?

Matthew Steeples said...

Here are some other examples, also through Foxtons:

- £14m penthouse: (£2746 per sq ft)

- £2.1m penthouse: (£1200 per sq ft)

The £32m penthouse price of £2589 per sq ft, on this basis, has to be way out. At £1200 per sq ft, it would be £14,830,800 - not even half what Foxtons are quoting for it.

Matthew Steeples said...

Furthermore, a penthouse available through another agent, Friend & Falcke ( also works out at £1200 per sq ft and another through John D. Wood ( comes in at just £999 per square foot.

At a price of £1000 per square foot, the overpriced penthouse would come in at just £12,359,000 instead. I do think this property will end up in the same league as:

Matthew Steeples said...

So to get it down to a realistic figure, 38% should be whacked off the asking price.

(The selling price of The Razor, incidentally, was 31% lower than the original asking price).

Mick said...

Great research but you forgot to include a link to the Daily Mail piece so here it is:

Shadi said...

A crazy one!!

Roderick McKay said...

Utterly overpriced. You'd do better to buy a country place instead. Much better value.

Roderick McKay said...

Simply bonkers!!!!!!!!!!!!!