Tube signs guarantee a £26,000 premium
In the same week that London Underground celebrates its 150th anniversary, new research shows homebuyers are paying a bigger-than-ever premium to live close to a Tube station.
Homes within 500 metres of a station typically cost 8.8 per cent more, or £26,000, than an otherwise identical property a further 1,000 metres away. The premium has increased from seven per cent two years ago, according to Nationwide.
London's 12 Tube lines are the veins of the capital's property map — and an obvious starting point for homebuyers. But while homes along the Circle line, which covers London's central core, command the highest premiums, not all the cheapest locations are at the distant ends of lines.
Aldgate and Elephant & Castle, in travel Zone 1, and Whitechapel, Oval and New Cross in Zone 2, stand out as affordable up-and-coming areas. Tooting (Northern line) and Tottenham Hale (Victoria line) are also worth looking at.
Homes along the Metropolitan line, which connects the Square Mile to Uxbridge, Watford and Amersham, offer good value for commuters, while the East London line extension through south-east London helped to make Southwark the borough with the highest price increases last year — up 11 per cent.
The Northern line extension from Kennington to Battersea, due in 2019, is fuelling demand for homes in the Nine Elms regeneration zone.
Mayfair's first new flats for a decade
The first new-build apartment block in Mayfair in more than 10 years has been launched — just as Westminster planners propose a clampdown on the commercial-to-residential conversion boom in this top postcode.
Tucked away in a side street off Berkeley Square, Mayfair Chambers is a boutique scheme of six flats, three of which are lateral, priced from £3.15 million.
The discreet location is matched by the architecture — elegant and restrained, with red-brick and Portland Stone cladding, art deco-style metalwork and anodised bronze-framed windows on three sides of the building — rare for Mayfair — resulting in interiors with lots of natural light.
Each flat, typically 1,800sq ft, spans an entire floor of the building and has direct lift access from the entrance lobby: very different to the dingy digs of the Victorian-era bachelors' chambers that stood on the site until recently. The penthouse is topped by a spectacular 1,000sq ft roof terrace with a glass-cube lightwell.
Completion is due next year. Buyers can view a scale replica in the local branch of estate agents Hamptons International. This intricate model captures the look and shape of the finished development. Call 020 7758 8440.
New home conversions in Covent Garden
Many people regard Covent Garden as the lively heart of the capital, and demand for homes there always outstrips supply. It buzzes with the excitement of opera and theatreland, and its world-famous piazza attracts 45 million visitors a year.
Capital & Counties, the area's main landowner, wants to attract upmarket residents to Covent Garden with a masterplan for a "modern luxury" shopping quarter, which will include top labels such as Burberry.
Several heritage buildings overlooking the piazza are being converted into new homes. Circa 50 flats are becoming available in the piazza area, of which a handful will be for sale and to rent at The Henrietta. Coming soon are apartments at The Russell, currently occupied by branches of Lloyds Bank and Pizza Hut, and The Beecham, opposite the Royal Opera House, plus more modest homes that are being created above shops in the area.
A boom in luxury serviced apartments
London is seeing a boom in demand for luxury serviced apartments — giving business visitors an alternative to the city's high-priced hotels.
The newest arrival, bringing a touch of Beverly Hills glamour to a quiet road off Marylebone High Street, is AKA Serviced Residences, which for years has operated in California, New York and Washington.
It has launched nine ultra-smart serviced apartments and one mews house complete with a garage in Bentinck Street, W1, in an imposing six-storey property that was once home to Cold War spies Guy Burgess and Anthony Blunt, but has been renovated from the basement up with fastidious attention to detail.
With state-of-the-art fixtures and fittings and a chic metropolitan look created by the firm's own in-house designer, the one- and two-bedroom apartments come not just with high-quality linen, crockery, cooking utensils and Asprey knick-knacks, but also with bespoke art and rare books. Security for guests, who include high-powered lawyers, doctors and media professionals is top-notch.
Rental periods can be just one night or run to a year. The cost is £350 a night for the apartments and £790 per night for the house. Visit stayaka.com/locations/west_end for details.