Philip Eastwood, Partner and Head of London for The Buying Solution, reveals how he’d spend his lottery winnings.
You’ve won the Euro lottery! Your wealth advisor has recommended how much you should put away to pay for necessary and important elements such as pensions, investments, charitable donations and children’s education. They have allocated €25m (approximately £21.9m) of the remaining pot to invest in property. What would you buy?
If the adage holds true that winning the lottery should be a life changing experience, I intend it to do just that. It wouldn’t be just about finding the nicest house in my favourite London street, I’d also keep a strong eye out for a good investment, too. It’s an amazing piece of luck to win such a huge amount if one can make further capital on it that surely must be a good thing.
Currently on the market there are a number of classic, white stucco-fronted houses in Belgravia’s Chester Square. The most attractive of three garden squares built by the Grosvenor family when they developed the main part of Belgravia in the 19th century, and once home to Margaret Thatcher, it’s widely regarded as one of the premier addresses in London. Almost all the houses have listed status that prevents any external modifications and all owners—freehold or otherwise—have to comply with the Grosvenor Estate’s rules, which preclude that all front doors should be painted black, among other things.
As they are typically owned by extremely wealthy investors from overseas, the interiors of these houses—which can have six or 7 bedroom suites–are often finished to the finest details and I imagine not having to spend anything internally. Standard features might include an internal lift, parking for three cars, a wine cellar with maybe a humidor, a fully-equipped gym with Jacuzzi, and all the book-matched marble bathrooms that one could wish for. With asking prices of around £20m to £25m, would-be buyers might be surprised to hear that there is little or no garden and outside space comes in the form of terraces instead. Don’t forget that residents automatically have access to the private communal garden which is just under 1.5 acres.
For me, the fact that they are a number of them available currently means that there might be an opportunity to drive the price down—it’s a case of supply and demand. The location is fantastic and is never going to be compromised so this would, from a strategic standpoint, be a good buy. While the market might be a bit soft at the moment, an investment at this level into this platinum-rated address means that even if the property hasn’t appreciated in value in 4 or 5 years, at least the investment is safeguarded until it does–and it will.
Time and again, during my career, I’ve listened to property professionals lamenting that they didn’t buy a house at a certain time in the market. For that reason and because interest in these very expensive houses in Chester Square is currently low, I see this as an opportunity. This is about buying well and wisely—not about letting the heart rule the head. It gives the opportunity to buy now, take advantage of the weaker prices and then be in a position down the line to capitalise on this great windfall that lady luck has bestowed on me.