Fairer Days for Mayfair

HIGH-END LONDON PROPERTY KEEPS CLIMBING, EVEN AS THE U.K. DIPS INTO RECESSION AGAIN.

SIMON PACKARD

Mayfair’s most desirable address is Grosvenor Square, as it has been for centuries.

HISTORIC PHOTO: GROSVENOR; CURRENT PHOTO: STEVE HARRIES

ONCE HOME TO THE grandest British families holding court in lavish mansions, London’s Mayfair section lost some of its status and allure after World WarII. Corporate headquarters moved in, mansions became offices, and the character of the quiet, historic streets east of Hyde Park changed. Whatever vibrancy the neighborhood had during the day ended when the workers went home at night.

“It didn’t have a life,” says property investor Vincent Tchenguiz, who lives in Mayfair. Compared with desirable addresses in Belgravia and Kensington, Mayfair was second-rate, he says.

That’s changing fast. Rents on Bond Street, the luxury-goods shopping strip that runs through Mayfair, set records each time a store turns over. Twenty of the 55 Michelin star–rated restaurants in greater London are in Mayfair. And now the residential market is taking off. The average price of a home on Grosvenor Square, the district’s most prestigious address, has nearly caught up to Belgravia’s desirable Eaton Square. Top prices in Mayfair are about 19 percent higher than prime sections of Manhattan.

“Mayfair went from being a nice place for 65-year-olds to a cool place for 35-year-olds,” says David Marks of Brockton Capital, a fund manager with investments in the district.

This boom in London luxury homes is proceeding even with the U.K. in its second recession in less than four years, as globe-trotting billionaires and multimillionaires boost demand. Almost 6,000 London residents have assets valued at more than $30 million, twice as many as in Paris, the next-most-popular city in Europe among the very rich, according to Wealth-X, a firm that compiles data on affluent individuals.

Developers and property owners are betting the trend will continue. Grosvenor Group Ltd., which manages land holdings for the Duke of Westminster’s family trusts, is bullish on Mayfair, where it has about 100 acres (40 hectares). One recent project, part of a continuing revamp of Duke Street and North Audley Street, converted a bank branch into rental apartments above a new restaurant. A 2,648-square-foot (246-square-meter) triplex rented for 250,000 pounds ($400,000) a year, a record for Grosvenor Group in London.

Welcome!

Magazines Review offers you a broad range of popular American magazines online. Browse an extensive directory of magazines, covering most important aspects of your life. Find the most recent issues of your favourite magazine, or check out the oldest ones.

About content

All the articles are taken from the official magazine websites and other open web resources.

Please send your complains and suggestions through our feedback form. Thank you.