London property buying guide

Transaction costs have been historically very low but this government has raised them considerably in an effort to cool the market and raise more revenue. On average the costs to purchase in London over £1 million are from 6%-12%.

There are no restrictions for international buyers except, there is now an extra 3% levy on second home purchases, which also applies to UK residents owning more than one property.

A freehold property means that you are the full owner of the land on which only your property sits. It is the preferable scenario.
Leasehold properties are quite unique to the UK. An individual or estate owns the freehold and effectively a lease-holder takes a tenancy for a prolonged period of time. Therefore when you purchase a property you are not purchasing the land in the case of a lease-hold but a very long lease. However the key to note here is that you are almost always able to extend your lease and the freeholder has to sell it to you at a market price.

Historically there have been very few new build properties as a proportion of the housing stock in London. This changed dramatically around 2010 and we now feel that new build is in equilibrium.

The main advice we give is to use someone who is a broker used to dealing with foreign nationals. This is a competitive market and finding the right deal is important for our clients.

SOUTH KENSINGTON/GLOUCESTER ROAD

 

At its best
– One of the best residential areas of London
– High density of excellent flats with grand proportions
– Few houses, but some of the finest in London
– Good variety of shops , restaurants and museums
– HIGHLIGHTS: Onslow Square; Pelham Crescent; The Boltons; Queens Gate Gardens

 

At its worst
– Gloucester Road tube has tourist hotels so environs can slightly shabby
– Many flats effected by road noise
– Museums also attract tourists

 

General Price Guide
Flats: £1300 p/sq ft – £3000 p/ sq ft
Houses: £1500 p/ sq ft – £2600 p/ sq ft

At its best
– Wonderful cosmopolitan residential atmosphere
– Variety of architectural styles from grand to quirky
– King’s Road and environs well served with shops, bars and restaurants
– Good mixture of houses, flats and purpose built blocks
– HIGHLIGHTS: Cadogan Estate; Old Chelsea; Sloane Square

 

At its worst
– Kings Road better than many high streets, but busy with cars and shoppers
– Transport is poor in a large part of the area

 

General Price Guide
Flats: £1200 p/sq ft – £3000 p/ sq ft
Houses: £1500 p/ sq ft – £3000 p/ sq ft

At its best
– Possibly the most beautiful and varied architecture in London
– Great shopping with many flagship stores and one off boutiques
– Some of the best restaurants in London
– Very safe area to live in
– Right in the centre close to Hyde park and St James Park

 

At its worst
– Many commercial buildings and therefore less of a family atmosphere particularly at night
– Lack of newly built high end concierge developments with parking

 

General Price Guide
Flats: £1500 p/sq ft – £6000 p/ sq ft
Houses: : £1800 p/ sq ft – £4000 p/ sq ft

At its best
– Arguably the most Internationally renowned of all Prime Central London
– Enviable selection of designer shopping
– Vibrant restaurant and nightlife scene
– Many blocks of flats, often with parking, perfect for ‘lock up and leave’
– HIGHLIGHTS; The Knightsbridge; One Hyde Park; Lennox Gardens; Ennismore and Montpelier Squares; Harrods and Harvey Nicholls

 

At its worst
– Very touristy

 

General Price Guide
Flats: £1600 p/sq ft – £6000 p/ sq ft
Houses: £1800 p/ sq ft – £4000 p/ sq ft

At its best
– Many individual and interesting boutiques on the High Street
– Right in the centre of London – five minutes from Oxford Street
– Beautiful Georgian properties juxtaposed with modern blocks
– Now considered Prime Central London, although still at a discount
– Excellent transport links
– HIGHLIGHTS: Harley Street; Montagu Square; Portman Square; Selfridges

 

At its worst
– Can be congested and very busy
– Mixed area still, with some shabby streets

 

General Price Guide
Flats: £1200 p/sq ft – £2500 p/ sq ft
Houses: £1200 p/ sq ft – £2000 p/ sq ft

At its best
– The best nightlife in London
– A huge selection of shops, cafes and restaurants
– Unparalleled location in terms of centrality
– Can walk to some of the best theatres and cinemas in London
– HIGHLIGHTS: Royal Opera House, Trafalgar Square, Neal Street

 

At its worst
– Lack of choice of residential property
– Feels extremely busy, chaotic and polluted

 

General Price Guide
Flats: £750 p/sq ft – £1300 p/ sq ft
Houses: £750 p/ sq ft – £1300 p/ sq ft

NOTTING HILL / LADBROKE GROVE

At its best
– Lively, eclectic neighbourhood around Portobello Road
– Large family houses with private communal gardens, particularly West of Ladbroke Grove
– Hip shopping and drinking around Westbourne Grove
– Edgy and unique atmosphere
– HIGHLIGHTS: Kensington Park Gardens; Dawson Place; the Lansdownes

 

At its worst
– Large amounts of council housing, particularly to the North and East
– Portobello Road can be a nightmare, particularly on market days

 

General Price Guide
Flats: £1000 p/sq ft – £2500 p/ sq ft
Houses: £1500 p/ sq ft – £3500 p/ sq ft

WESTMINSTER / VICTORIA

At its best
– Many purpose built blocks both old and new – ideal for pied a terres
– Little crime due to location of Home Office
– Reasonably priced for such a central location
– Close to St James’ Park
– HIGHLIGHTS: Westminster Green; St. John’s; Vincent Square; Smith Square

 

At its worst
– Rather lifeless and quiet at night
– Large amounts of social housing and office blocks

 

General Price Guide
Flats: £650 p/sq ft – £1200 p/ sq ft
Flats: £1000 p/sq ft – £2000 p/ sq ft
Houses: £1000 p/ sq ft – £2000 p/ sq ft

HOLLAND PARK

At its best
– Holland Park itself is one of the most attractive parks in London
– Detached ‘Villas’ on North and West of the Park are some of the largest and finest in London
– Holland Park Avenue and Westfield give fantastic local shopping
– Central Line underground straight into the City
– Relaxed and safe family feel
– HIGHLIGHTS: Holland Park villas; Oakwood Court; Addison Road; Ilchester Place

 

At its worst
– Architecture of houses in Abbotsburys rather underwhelming
– West of Holland Park banked by busy, shabby Holland Road

 

General Price Guide
Flats: £1200 p/sq ft – £3000 p/ sq ft
Houses: £1800 p/ sq ft – £4000 p/ sq ft

BELGRAVIA

At its best
– Probably the smartest area of London
– Many grand stucco fronted houses and garden squares
– Largely Grosvenor Estate –the best run estate management in London
– Much quieter than neighbouring Knightsbridge
– HIGHLIGHTS: Eaton Square; Montrose Place; Belgrave Square

 

At its worst
– Close to Buckingham Palace and Victoria become mixed with commercial
– Many short and complicated leases which need expert guidance

 

General Price Guide
Flats: £1600 p/sq ft – £6000 p/ sq ft
Houses: £1800 p/ sq ft – £4000 p/ sq ft

KENSINGTON

At its best
– Excellent family area because of parks (Holland Park and Kensington Gardens)
– Very high end concierge developments, and good quality mansion flats
– Houses often slightly larger than in Chelsea
– Some of the most prestigious houses in London
– Extensive variety of convenient shops on the High Street
– HIGHLIGHTS: Kensington Palace Gardens; Thornwood and Academy Gardens

 

At its worst
– Kensington High Street is useful but not high end
– Not as central as Mayfair and Knightsbridge

 

General Price Guide
Flats: £1200 p/sq ft – £3000 p/ sq ft
Houses: : £1500 p/ sq ft – £3000 p/ sq ft

At its best
– Still best value in Kensington and Chelsea
– Beautiful garden squares
– Well connected
– Huge regeneration project- largest in Europe will increase values

 

At its worst
– Still too many shabby hotels
– No parks

General Price Guide
Flats: £1000 p/sq ft – £2000 p/ sq ft
Houses: £1000 p/ sq ft – £2000 p/ sq ft

At its best
– On the doorstep of hyde park
– Beautiful large white stucco architecture difficult to match outside the most expensive areas
– Central location
– Paddington crossrail and Heathrow Express
– Huge investment high end residential developments recently

 

General Price Guide
Flats: £1000 p/sq ft – £3000 p/ sq ft
Houses: £1000 p/ sq ft – £2000 p/ sq ft

At its best
– Becoming tech start up hub of london
– Very central to old affluent west london and north london and close to new london and the city
– St Martins Art College and Granary Square
– Google european HQ
– HIGHLIGHTS: EuroStar and great connections

 

At its worst
– Not great for families
– Still slightly urban
– No parks nearby

 

General Price Guide
Flats: £800 p/sq ft – £1500 p/ sq ft
Houses: £800 p/ sq ft – £1500 p/ sq ft

At its best
– North West london’s smartest neighbourhood
– Established area for many wealthy foreign families
– Regents park
– Home to some of London’s best housing stock

 

At its worst
– Can feel isolated from local amenities in parts
– Transport average

 

General Price Guide
Flats: £1200 p/sq ft – £2500 p/ sq ft
Houses: £1200 p/ sq ft – £2500 p/ sq ft

At its best
– Potentially the most iconic development in london at battersea power station
– New US embassy
– Very central
– One of the largest regeneration areas ever created in london
– Beautiful park
– Near Sloane Square and Chelsea

 

At its worst
– Not well connected transport wise
– So much new build will take time to feel like a community

 

General Price Guide
Flats: £800 p/sq ft – £1700 p/ sq ft
Houses: £800 p/ sq ft – £1300 p/ sq ft

At its best
– Pleasant family feel, particularly around Parsons Green <br>- Some good quality houses – generally half the price of neighbouring Chelsea
– Hurlingham Club (country club) is a huge plus for those with membership
– Good selection of parks and schools
– HIGHLIGHTS: Peterborough Estate; Napier Avenue; Doria Road

 

At its worst
– New Kings Road to Chelsea is often congested
– North End Road and Fulham Broadway dip in quality significantly
– Aeroplane noise is significant

 

General Price Guide
Flats: £800 p/sq ft – £1200 p/ sq ft
Houses: £800 p/ sq ft – £1400 p/ sq ft

At its best

– Very popular family area
– 10 stops on the Tube to Canary Wharf, 8 to Bank
– Excellent selection of private prep schools
– Many parks – Clapham and Wandsworth Commons, Battersea Park
– Varied selection of Victorian, Georgian and Queen Anne architecture
–  HIGHLIGHTS: Crescent Grove, Grafton Square, Northcote Road

 

At it’s worst

–  Far from any major department stores
–  Aeroplane noise, although not as noticeable as in Fulham

 

General Price Guide
Flats:   £450 p/sq ft – £800 p/ sq ft
Houses:  £500 p/ sq ft – £850 p/ sq ft

At its best
– Borough market
– Good option of transport connection in and around London with London Bridge and Waterloo
– Gentrified areas, Shard Thames in particulark
– Close to attraction, Tower Bridge, The Shard
– Good schools

 

At its worst
– A lot of non-residential parts and fewer houses
– Some very dodgy areas still

 

General Price Guide
Flats: £800 p/sq ft – £1800 p/ sq ft

About the author:

 

Karim Bazzi is the founder of Homes One. He specializes in property search in London and can be contacted at karimbazzi@homes-one.com

Homes One profile:

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