A look at London’s luxury property market through the eyes of experts
In London’s prime central locations, including Mayfair, Belgravia, Kensington and Notting Hill, select residential property agents and luxury property advisors know all there is to know about buying the best property.
Buying without their help could be a mistake. It’s a bit like trying to refurbish a beautiful home without the help of an interior designer. These experts know a lot more than you might think, and bring added value, saving you stress, time and money. They not only fight for the best price, but advise on everything from which side of the street is best to live on to which properties are worth doing extra work on. They also have a wealth of trusted contacts to help you through the purchase and beyond.
We talked to expert property advisor and buying agent Hannah Aykroyd to find out secrets of the prime central London luxury market. Hannah says about 60% of the properties she helps clients buy are off market. So, unless you’re in the know with the right person, you won’t even be in the running for these luxury properties.
Hannah says, ‘When we are retained by a new client, we ask for about two weeks before we even take them to view anything. That allows us to pick up the phone and to send out a search brief to all of our contacts in the right areas.’ She doesn’t just mean property agents, but also lawyers, bankers, family offices; all sorts of reliable people who know what’s going on in the London property market. Hannah and her team then preview up to 50 properties before presenting clients with the best – those that really match their brief and are worth viewing. ‘It’s about saving them time and stress, but also finding them exactly what they’re after,’ says Hannah. ‘About 60% of our clients live abroad or are travelling constantly and the rest are leading busy lives.’
Aykroyd & Co, Hannah’s business, has just helped a buyer exchange on a penthouse in Chelsea, and is due to exchange on a traditional house in Belgravia on the day we speak. The next step for Hannah’s clients is making use of her black book of tried and tested professionals. These include everyone from surveyors to mortgage brokers, and interior designers who understand prime London property, such as us. We have worked with Hannah coming in at the viewing stage in order to help cost and visualise improvements to a house. It’s ideal for us to be there this early in the process so that costs can be worked into the offer and refurbishment budget. We also have expert knowledge of what will work and can help clients visualise alterations.
For a lot of people buying premium London property, interior design is a necessity rather than an afterthought. Many don’t have the time to consider 100 door knobs or taps, lighting design choices, skirting boards or ceiling roses. It’s up to us to find the right pieces and offer simple choices. And using interior architecture skills, we can completely reconfigure interiors.
About half of Hannah’s clients need interior design work on the properties they buy. Inevitably, even if a property is turn-key, it won’t be quite to the buyer’s style. Hannah says that period properties with grand proportions and original features are still the most desired in prime central London locations.
It’s the extra level of service that clients love. With Hannah, you aren’t left with nagging doubts – she has the experience and knowledge of her buying areas to advise on what’s best, from property and schools to local parks and restaurants.
Another prime central London property expert is luxury property agent Peter Wetherell, who has been in business here since 1982. He knows all there is to know about property in the concentrated area of Mayfair. He’s noticing changes in who lives here, too. In his 2019 Who Lives in Mayfair? report, he notes an increase in Generation Z-ers (under 25-year-olds) moving in. These are young, techy entrepreneurs, and the surrounding urban area is altering to serve their needs. But he says Mayfair strives to serve the needs of all its residents, well aware that 70% are high net worth individuals with money to spend. The report states, ‘In the late 19th Century, it was said that the world was ruled from the homes of Mayfair – and now… the people who rule the world (both politically or financially) want to buy a home in Mayfair.’
Peter believes now is a great time to buy property in Mayfair, with growth on the horizon. There are over 400 new homes worth over £840 million coming onto the market over the next few years. Values are already over £5,000 per ft2 and should rise to £10,000 per ft2. Crossrail is another plus. Mayfair is returning to its former glory as London’s most prestigious address. A new generation of landowners and developers are joining old landowners in celebrating the new luxury homes, hotels, shops and leisure facilities.
The need for luxury interiors to match these addresses is self-evident. Whether it’s an art lover looking to match her new penthouse to her art collection, or a millennial moving in and needing everything done in the most tech-savvy up-to-date styles, the luxury interior design requirement is there. Part of our job as interior designers is to source wonderful original pieces for these high net worth clients and their properties.
For managed properties – of which Hannah Aykroyd has many – there are additional interior design needs. These property interiors need to be designed so that they’re easy to look after while owners travel. And if owners need to sell, the interiors must be up to scratch, too.
The value of London luxury residential property experts such as Hannah Aykroyd and Peter Wetherell, among others, is their gold-plated connections with interior designers and other experts, helping to make each purchase in these top London locations a success. Their intrinsic understanding of what clients are looking for, plus discretion and professionalism, go with a value in creating long-term relationships with clients. They remain of service in whatever capacity clients and their luxury homes might require.
Call Interiors by Sarah Ward for interior-design advice and assistance when looking at luxury property or for a property you own: +44 (0)20 3667 7796 or email: email@example.com