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August 18, 2010
Where To Live In London: Mayfair
Nestled between Knightsbridge and Soho is the area of Mayfair. It is bordered by Bond Street to the north, Green Park to the south,Soho to the west and Hyde Park to the east. Mayfair has long been considered the most prestigious location in London, but has of late seen the shops of Oxford Street and the offices of St. James’s. Mayfair is lined with hedge fund, private equity and other high end offices looking for a prestigious location that avoids the City and West End rush, but also is home to many luxury residences that capitalise on the proximity to Harrods, Hyde Park and the West End. In that way it acts as a bit of a compression zone, to borrow a term from the late Sam Huntington, between the commercially focused West End and residentially focused Knightsbridge and greater Hyde Park area.
Most of Mayfair is owned by the Grosvenor Estate, and so has the same red brick and white stucco styled terraced house as Knightsbridge and South Kensington. Mayfair residences hold a rather similar price as other prime-central London areas, such as Knightsbridge and Kensington. Prices will surpass £2000 per sq ft but a flat will typically sell at £1400-£1800 per square foot, which is roughly on par with neighbouring areas. Mayfair, however, doesn’t have quite as many extremely high-end residences like Knightsbridge, Chelsea or South Kensington.
Mayfair had long been the most prestigious location in London, coming mainly from the high end shops of New Bond Street and its proximity to the east side of Hyde Park. Its prestige has been outpaced by neighbouring Knightsbridge, due to the popularity of Harrods and the rise of new developments like One Hyde Park as well as the gradual transition from residential to office and retail spaces. Now that the American embassy has cleared out of Grosvenor Square, though, the development cycle may be picking up in Mayfair’s favour.
The most desirable street in Mayfair is Park Lane, which runs along the edge of Hyde Park. It is particularly sought after because of the rarity of having such views of the park, especially before the new One Hyde Park and The Lancasters developments opened up the northern and southern boundaries. The park’s views are coupled with Park Lane’s proximity to prime shopping and business locations, giving Park Lane a level of grandeur not found elsewhere. Flats on Park Lane will cost in the area of £2500 per sq ft or more. The highest end flats on Park Lane will cost up to £3600 per sq ft.
Mayfair was one of the first areas populated by wealthy foreign buyers in the pre-crisis era, especially Russians Arabs. There is also a large amount of older wealth there, some held over from the days when the area was populated by such notable families as the Churchills. Current famous residents include Madonna, but the area is less star powered and more financially powered. Wealthy businessmen populate the area, as it allows them proximity to their offices. What will be interesting to see is how the area will change. Development of the now vacated U.S. Embassy will bring a freshness to the area, and increasing the now shrinking residential property and bolstering the prestige of this long great location.