Ed Mead

Now’s the time to house hunt in Chelsea

Now's the time to house hunt in Chelsea
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Every now and then the London property cycle creates an anomaly missed by the majority of property buyers until it’s too late.

It started about 25 years ago when overseas buyers lobbed a rock into the prime central London property pond – created ironically by a Labour government. In the run up to the Euro, the demand for prime central London property went into overdrive. The reasons were many, but ultimately it came down to London’s unique blend of safety - both geographical and political, ability to look and trade East to West and its status as a world City. London always had that air amongst international buyers of a place where, if the balloon went up in your own country, you could safely go and live in your not insubstantial investment.

This had led to large parts of the centre becoming a ghost town. And yet, just as importantly, it has now created a crucial crossover point into the new era of comparative affordability we're currently witnessing. When prime central London became a repository for overseas money, prices doubled in the five years to 2001 and caused many UK buyers, who might have lived more centrally before, to set their sights instead on what’s now known as Prime London. Wandsworth, Battersea, Fulham, Hammersmith and the like became go-to areas with values doubling in the six years following 2001.

My crossover point is when the pound per square foot values in some parts of SW10 – usually around Lots Road – become lower than Battersea and Wandsworth. This doesn’t happen often, but it is occurring now. A blind spot develops as sellers in SW10 will take bids – most Chelsea owners tend to be pragmatic – and domestic buyers don’t think they can afford it so don’t look there.

Values in the less well-known parts of SW10 have stayed level or fallen over the last seven years, whilst the better parts of Prime London have grown almost 30 per cent. In other words, now is the time to be sniffing a SW10 bargain and creeping back into Chelsea. It’s a once in a generation happening.

In SW10 and looking like they might take a bid are the following – at around or less than £1000 per square foot:

4-bed terrace, Telcott Road, £1,900,000

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7-bed townhouse, Burnaby Street, £2,550,000

3-bed flat, Edith Grove, £1,000,000

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Compare these properties to the prices creeping up on the other side of the river and you will see the way in which the gulf between the two has closed. This terrace in SW11 is on the market for over £1 million. Likewise this 2-bed flat (albeit with use of a tennis court) is on the market for £1,199,500.