Property insider: Covent Garden

Local estate agents Guy Passey and Hannah Read of EA Shaw reveal Covent Garden's best streets and hidden property gems.
Seven Dials, Covent Garden
© Rex Features
Seven Dials in Covent Garden is in the heart of London's vibrant theatreland
Covent Garden, in the heart of London's vibrant theatreland, is famous for its Italian-style piazza packed with crowd-drawing street performers, lively bars and restaurants, boutique shops and the iconic Royal Opera House.

Stretching from Shaftesbury Avenue in the north, the River Thames in the south and spanning from Charing Cross Road to Kingsway from east to west, Covent Garden has some of London’s most sought-after addresses thanks to a wealth of culture on the doorstep and enviable transport links.

Find properties to buy in Covent Garden.

Behind these imposing façades there lies a village as old as London with lanes, alleys and smart residential squares opening out on to the Seven Dials and the Opera Quarter.

Central-living Londoners adore Covent Garden and international investors, expats, bankers, barristers and media creatives love to walk to work - and then go out in the evening on foot to every kind of restaurant and show.

“Covent Garden is a very vibrant area, with a real buzz both day and night. And as a residential suburb it’s becoming ever more desirable. There is an increasingly villagey feel in areas such as Seven Dials and the Opera Quarter,” says local estate agent Guy Passey, of EA Shaw.

What types of properties are typical to the area?
Covent Garden has a mix of properties, but most typical are period conversions of warehouses. There are also a number of new-build homes and portered developments, such as Harlequin Court and Central St Giles.

Which groups of people are attracted to the area?
The area attracts a wide range of buyers. For sales, there has been a significant upsurge in foreign investment, especially from Europe and South East Asia, but the traditional owner-occupiers, pied-à-terre purchasers and parents buying for their children are still present. Tenants for rental properties range from media types, bankers and barristers to expats and students.

What are the 'hottest' properties in the area?
Demand in the area is always high, but certain blocks and streets retain a certain cachet that keeps them at a premium. Harlequin Court and Floral Street are two of the hottest addresses in the area, and anything on or around the Piazza is attractive: King Street, Henrietta Street, and Bow Street all benefit from the draw of the most famous part of Covent Garden.

Where are the 'hidden gems'?
Properties such as a warehouse conversion at Stukeley Street, which is well located, but very quiet and undisturbed, and the unusual freehold house at Tower Court (right) are examples of hidden gems in the local area.

What are the best investment opportunities in the area?
There is a constant high demand for one-bedroom properties and studios, which are popular with tenants, and will give investors the highest returning yields.

How is local parking?
Being in the centre of London, parking space is at a premium, and whilst it is possible to obtain a resident's parking permit from Westminster City Council, it is very difficult to park in the area.

What are service charges in the area like?
Service charges can range from £800 to £8,000 a year - it varies between buildings.

What are your favourite viewings to show potential buyers?
There is a really beautiful conversion in Macklin Street, a very quiet street in Covent Garden. Showing buildings that are still under construction is always exciting. The Piazza Residences are going to be some of the best apartments in the area, so showing people around is interesting.

If money were no object, where would you buy in this area?
Covent Garden is truly the heart of London, accessible to everywhere, with everything you need on your doorstep, so we'd feel happy buying any of the properties.

The house at 25 Craven Street (left), formerly the home of Herman Melville would be an interesting place to live, but one of the penthouses at Central St Giles, with its fabulous views across London, would be good too.

Guy Passey is Head of Residential Sales, and Hannah Read is Head of Lettings, both at Covent Garden estate agent EA Shaw

Follow us on Twitter @HomesProperty and Facebook