All the latest housing forecasts scream "invest in London". House prices are steadily up and London is looking increasingly like a safe haven, not just for overseas investment, but also for homeowners here in the UK.
Over the coming months we plan to provide you with some helpful guides, based upon our network of local estate agents, who will help you decide where might be the best place to invest.
Probably best to start these area guides at the top. The top of the London property market that is. Or rather, as the Pet Shop Boys once told us, go west.
The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea is the most expensive borough in London, with average house prices of just under a million. It is the playground of the rich and famous, as shown by popular Channel Four hit series Made In Chelsea.
You won't necessarily run into the perpetually bed-hopping Hugo, Spencer and Caggie if you move to Chelsea, but there is a fair chance.
Whilst to some extent the show is nothing but a whimsical parody (we hope so anyway) there is certainly more than a grain of truth in there.
In this guide we'll take a look at some 'typical' properties and the key stats you need to know if you're to live in one of London's most exclusive areas.
- Ladbroke Grove
- South Kensington
- Notting Hill
- Earls Court
- Holland Park
Hugh Grant and Bernie Ecclestone - Chelsea Square (not together!)
Mick Jagger - Edith Grove, Cheyne Walk
Margaret Thatcher - Flood Street
Marquess of Salisbury - Swan Walk
William Boyd (author) and Bob Geldof - Redburn Street
Honor Blackman (actress) - Markham Square
Catherine Middleton - Old Church Street
Il Divo - Flood Street
Notable others - David Cameron, Jemima Khan, Kylie Minogue, Mark Knopfler, Roman Polanski, Lily Allen and Bryan Adams
The Estate Agent's view
Howard Elston is associate director of Aylesford International, a top end estate agency based in Chelsea. He gives us the lowdown on the borough.
Is this borough a better bet for house price growth than others?
The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea is perennially popular and although parts of Westminster (Belgravia and Mayfair) are more expensive it would be difficult to argue against the Kensington and Chelsea as a whole being the most popular residential borough in Central London.
Where in the borough do buyers get best value for money?
The best value for money is always going to be found on the peripheral areas such as the Lots Road triangle adjoining Fulham. These areas, conveniently central but not considered prime, offer in many cases excellent value for money compared to prices being paid a few hundred yards up the Kings Road. The same will apply in North Kensington when compared to the prices being paid in prime areas of Notting Hill and Holland Park.
Is there a difference in price between a Kensington address and a Chelsea one?
No not really – there was historically but there are pockets of both post codes where exceptional prices are now being achieved and it is important to realise that a lot of buyers are now more interested in the right property than the exact location. Therefore wonderful lateral flats with outlooks over gardens are equally as sellable in Kensington as Chelsea.
Who lives/buys in the area?
It's become much more 'international' over the last few years and far less 'bohemian'. The artist's studios of old are now inhabited by investment bankers and a new range of international buyers have spread down the King's Road all the way to SW10 and beyond.
What do you get for your money?
Prices have risen accordingly. A few years ago you would have been paying £1,500 per sq ft for a prime Chelsea freehold – now that price has risen to well in excess of £2,000 per sq ft and there are instances of figures nearer £3,000 per sq ft being achieved. Translating this means that a good sized family house of 4,000 sq ft will now cost you in excess of £8 million and possibly nearer £10 million. These prices are way beyond the reach of the majority of domestic buyers but vacuum is filled by the never ending supply of super wealthy foreigners anxious to snap up a piece of prime London property.
What can you get on a smaller budget?
On a smaller budget, the entry level for a house on the Chelsea / Fulham border is circa £1.5million. It is obviously possible to get a flat at less than this with one bedroom flats costing a minimum of £500,000, and the cheapest areas tend to be along the border with Fulham, and those close to council estates.
If you had to pick one, which would be the best address in the borough?
Best address in Borough is undoubtedly Kensington Palace Gardens / Palace Green – years ago only inhabited by embassies etc – now the best address and haunt of the international super rich!
Is Chelsea really like 'Made in Chelsea'?
Chelsea never used to be like 'Made in Chelsea' but I suppose it has become more like it over recent years.
What's the architecture like?
The majority of Chelsea was built in Victorian times extending the 'old Chelsea Village' that lay on the bank of the Thames into a suburb of the City. Old Chelsea was centred around the original Chelsea Old Church at the bottom of Old Church Street. This was the Parish Church, but was later dwarfed by St Lukes in Sydney Street built to accommodate the growing population as Chelsea expanded. There are thus examples of Georgian architecture and indeed earlier to be found, but the majority of the area is Victorian.
What does the area have to offer in terms of eateries/schools/shopping etc?
The area is well served by local schools and restaurants. A lot of the shops are less idiosyncratic than they may have been decades ago as the major 'chains' have moved in to colonise the King's Road and the streets around.