Like its weather, the Central London property scene can prove unpredictable for the the first-time buyer. Fortunately, unlike the weather, a few guidelines on what this property market requires can go a long way in helping you make the right choices. So, this guide will help you know what you are dealing with, what to look for, and the means to get precisely what you want as you navigate the London property market.
What Is Considered Prime Central London?
True to its name, Prime or Central London is something of an exception as far as the rest of London, and the whole of the UK for that matter, is concerned. This real estate hot spot is full of the best London has to offer as when it comes to famous shops and restaurants, vibrant bars, as well as the more cultured offerings such as galleries, museums, and theatres.
Obviously, these perks of life in Prime London are all reflected in the locale’s property market prices. Consequently, the prices are also constantly rising in line with the demand. This is what makes the Prime Central London residential real estate market especially trying for buyers, particularly those who lack previous exposure to this market.
Where Should You Be Looking to Buy
Kensington and Chelsea
Kensington and Chelsea is the smallest borough in London, the second smallest England district, and also one of the most densely populated areas in the UK. This place is filled with several attractions and landmarks, including part of the Imperial College of London, the Stamford Bridge Stadium, a couple of museums, among other attractions. Property options for would-be buyers are just as varied. They consist of terraced houses, semi-detached houses, flats, apartments, and other kinds of properties.
Knightsbridge is bordered by Chelsea on the south, South Kensington to the west, and Belgravia to the east. This location is home to many high-end shops such as Harrods as well as flagship fashion stores such as Prada, Manolo Blahnik and even Jimmy Choo. Some of the most famous restaurants in the country are found in Knightsbridge, which partly explains why its property is sought after by high-end buyers from all around the world. The property prices are also some of the highest in the world, and many of the world’s richest call Knightsbridge their home.
As one of the wealthiest residential districts in the world, Belgravia is certainly one of the highlights of the prestigious central London property market. Belgravia is found in the south-west of the Buckingham Palace. In fact, some of the properties in this location were previously used by the aristocracy as residences.
Although popular for its vibrant cosmopolitan life and social events such as the annual Notting Hill Carnival, Notting Hill is also popular for its ample Victorian houses and many high-end social places. Over several decades, the location has become a highly fashionable suburb, especially for offering residents access to communal garden squares. Many prestigious houses around Nottingham Hill also come with private gardens. The cultural diversity of the area has also greatly enhanced its appeal among property buyers.
Mayfair contains several commercial and residential properties, including five star hotels, embassies, corporate offices, shops, restaurants, as well as top-notch residential properties. This unique blend of properties has made it rent rates some of the highest in the world, and its properties some of most highly priced in the world. Even so, the exclusivity and the level of luxury Mayfair has to offer keeps property buyers interested in what it has to offer.
Different Types of Central London Property and Architecture
New Build Property
New build homes are houses constructed using modern architectural styles. These houses vary broadly in appearance, with the only major characteristic being that they are not classed as period homes. In the above London property districts, these properties meet the highest construction standards in the world, which makes them top choices for many buyers.
- Comfort and décor has come a long way, and the best way to experience it is to own a new build house
- Maintaining a new build home is usually less expensive
- New build homes are easier to change when style adjustments are desired
- New build homes lack as much character as period houses
- When more advanced new build homes come up in a neighbourhood, their values can take a hit
Victorian Property (1837 – 1901)
The timeless appeal of Victorian terraced houses is still preserved within Central London. Some of the properties still in sale in the locations discussed above feature plush Victorian styles, with some having a history that traces back to the British aristocracy.
- An opportunity to live in a house with a rich history, owned by famous individuals
- A unique and universally recognisable appeal
- Properties are good at retaining their values
- Renters less likely to do massive alterations
- Victorian homes usually offer lots of floor space
- Finding contractors capable of doing repairs on such houses is much harder
- Victorian homes are more expensive to maintain since the materials are harder to come by
Georgian Property (1714 – 1830)
Georgian architecture, with its unique Renaissance ideas is one of the most popular historic building styles in London even today. The building style features a compact simplistic construction profile.
- The construction detail for Georgian homes is usually meticulous
- In general, Georgian houses are usually surrounded by beautiful natural vegetation
- Georgian homes, as with most historical houses, tend to require more attention than new build houses
- Conveniences such as heating not as good as in new build homes
Specialist Central London Estate Agents
We recommend you contact as many London estate agencies as you can and establish a relationship with them. You want to be one of the first people they think of when they receive a new property instruction – remember the best London properties do not stay on the market for long and rarely make it to property portals.
Although there are many estate agents operating in central London, here is a list of the some of the most notable to get you started:
- Knight Frank
- Nicolas Van Patrick
- Henry & James
- Wetherell Estate Agents
- Strutt & Parker
Understanding Legal and Conveyance
The legal and the conveyancing process for properties in London is fairly straightforward. And when dealing with properties in these prime locations, there are usually very experienced experts willing to help you along.
You will need to hire a specialist conveyance solicitor who will guide you and go over the legal contract and look after your interests. The seller will usually make up the contract regarding your purchase, and it will have details such as:
- The price
- Planning restrictions from the local authority
- When the sale will be completed
- Property boundaries
- Legal restrictions
Once the contracts have been signed by all parties, they become legally binding. As for the conveyancing, money changes hands, the ownership transfer documents are given to the buyer, the seller ensures the property is in the expected condition and hands the keys to the buyer, who then officially owns the property.
Common Mistakes To Avoid When Working With Estate Agents
You are in charge of interests, not the agent. Most buyers think that the real estate agents selling the properties are putting the buyer’s interests first, but this is not the case. However friendly they may be, their goal is to find the best prices for the properties they are selling, and not the best property for your desires.
The best properties within Prime London are usually not available in the open market. So, you have to check out the “off market” properties to get a full picture of everything available in the market.
Don’t rely on a single agent. The agents will show you only the small number of properties under their charge. So, to have access to a larger number of available properties, you will need to use more agents working with you as you try to find a great property.
Buying prime real estate in London is no joke, but armed with the right knowledge and team it can be done successfully.
Central London is home to some of the most prestigious properties in the world, and this brings with it some unique challenges for buyers. But an understanding of what this region is like, its history, what it has to offer, and how to go about the property purchase process can help you sidestep many of the pitfalls this property market brings with it. So, this guide should help you confidently purchase a property you will truly love in Central London.