The prime London postcode of W1 covers some of London’s biggest names in the property business - Mayfair, Grosvenor Square, Regent Street, Savile Row, Harley Street, Soho, and Oxford Street.
And nestling among these high-calibre areas Marylebone village, part of the Howard de Walden 92-acre estate, is a unique pocket of central London that offers its residents all the advantages of central-city living with a touch of countryside charm.
The area has elegant Georgian terraces, fine architecture, excellent transport links, designer shops, and top restaurants, add to this a unique village feel, strong sense of community and a farmer’s market just off the high street every weekend, and it’s easy to recognise why this area remains a bouyant property market. It is a safe investment in a downturn, as properties here are more than likely to hold their value.
Recent property prices have peaked at £2,000 a sq ft, a new record for the area, putting it alongside Mayfair in terms of perceived value and demand.
People who move here tend to stay, a trend confirmed by local resident and property expert, Mai Pexton, the sales manager at Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward’s Marylebone office. Pexton has lived and worked in the area for 10 years, arriving as a first-time buyer, and moving on to redevelop her second property in the neighbourhood. Living in the area gives her the insight of a local, and she knows that residents move within the village and not out of it.
She confirms: “Marylebone Village is in the heart of London yet has a strong village feel, and a sense of community - it is also unique, quirky and colourful - particularly during the annual summer Faye in June and when the Christmas lights go up each year.”
The insider's guide
Properties: Marylebone Village has a wide range of properties, including mews homes, period Georgian mansion blocks, and purpose-built homes.
1. Foreign buyers: properties with a high value, such as those in Marylebone Village, generally attract professionals and foreign buyers who like to be close to Oxford Street, Mayfair, Selfridges and the major hotels, such as the Dorchester. The demand for pied-à-terre’s is huge.
2. Upsizers and sidesteppers: Pexton explains: “We deal with upsizers and sidesteppers but they all want to stay. Couples only move when they want to start a family and cannot afford a big family property here, or if they want the same amount of space but no stairs."
3. Investors: many investors want to buy in this high-calibre W1 address. “Mayfair buyers are now looking at Marylebone Village as they start to realise it is as affluent and maybe more fun than Mayfair, has the ability for capital gains, and rentals are fantastic,” she says.
4. Country buyers: are attracted to the village feel in a central location, close to theatres and the West End for a few days a week.
5. Professionals: including city workers and private doctors, dentists and plastic surgeons who buy commercial live/work units close to Harley Street.
Hottest property: the most sought-after streets are New Cavendish Street, Devonshire Place, and Marylebone High Street. Kingsley Lodge is an unusual art-deco corner block that is extremely popular.
The Howard de Walden Estate is quiet but just a stone's throw from the high street and Wells Street has fabulous duplexes and maisonettes that go straight to sealed bids when they come on to the market.
Hidden gems: the mews homes are well hidden off main streets like Devonshire Place and Harley Street - you can find a beautiful home off Harley Place that you just wouldn’t know was there unless you wander around the area.
Investment opportunities: buy-to-let properties are a good investment. Bankers and city workers love living in near the wide range of amenities on their doorstep.
One-bedroom flats in Crawford Street, Paddington Street, Luxborough Street or Marylebone High Street or at Montagu Mansions are attractive investments.
Parking: resident parking permits are available from Westminster Council. “F zone” parking permits are prized as they cover the area as far down as Soho. According to Pexton, some potential buyers actually request to see homes only within this coveted parking zone.
Service charges: can be high, particularly at portered blocks with lift maintenance.
Ask the expert: Mai Pexton’s Marylebone Village
Favourite viewings: over the years Pexton has looked at thousands of homes in the area. Her favourite viewings are “definitely the freehold mews houses, reversions, the Georgian homes with spectacular high ceilings and spacious 10,000sq ft grand drawing rooms found in Wimpole, Harley and Devonshire Street."
Recently she had the opportunity to walk around probably the most unique house on the market in Marylebone at the moment in Manchester Square (£16 million; right), right next to the billions of pounds of artwork at the Wallace Collection.”
Where would you buy? Pexton admits that her dream home would be one of the five-storey Georgian terrace houses with floor-to-ceiling windows that can be found in Wimpole, Harley or Devonshire Streets. Or one of the fantastic mews homes.
And if she had £16 million in her pocket, she’d be moving in next door to the Wallace Collection tomorrow...