What do wealthy buyers want in a home? London vs Country

The Wealth Report 2023, published by Knight Frank earlier this year, gave us a comprehensive review of prime property markets, global wealth distribution and luxury spending trends.

However, how do these luxury trends translate into what spaces and amenities wealthy buyers seek in their next property purchase? And how does this differ between our London and countryside clients? We asked Philip Eastwood (Partner, London) and Mark Lawson (Partner, Country) to share their insights.

London – by Philip Eastwood

I’ve seen a spike in demand from London buyers favouring functional, usable, and low-maintenance spaces.

As the cost per square foot in London is so high, clients want to maximise the use of their space and prefer properties with areas that can be enjoyed daily rather than occasionally. For example, some of our clients don’t want swimming pools that are rarely used and have high maintenance costs. It’s come full circle. They would rather have a really good utility room for daily use or even more extensive wardrobes.  Many clients already have homes in places like Majorca, Ibiza, and the South of France with a pool, so they don’t need one in their basement.

Clients often insist on property features that make life more comfortable and efficient. Double glazing, air-conditioning, fibre broadband, on-site porters and parking are all prerequisites. These requirements outweigh extras like saunas, cinema rooms and gyms. Even some high-end lighting systems with complicated control systems have become passé as clients look for wireless and smart AV solutions.

This pursuit for practical spaces also crosses over into the condition of a property. My clients want their homes to be turn-key and a finished product. That means they expect a well-fitted kitchen, a good shower, and top-end interior design and materials. Very few clients have the appetite to take on a lengthy refurbishment project.

The topic of security is also becoming more prevalent. Clients are interested in how safe a street is and the security systems available. The notion of a panic room can make people feel uncomfortable. However, some London roads employ private security firms to reduce crime. For example, Chelsea Square and Brunswick Gardens have regular patrols with guards and dogs – all paid for by the residents.

Lastly, I have noticed that clients continue to look for properties with considerable floor-to-ceiling heights and big walls. Why? Well, with art investments rising by 29% in 2023 and the stellar prices paid for museum-quality works of art by ultra-wealthy collectors, our clients need bigger spaces for bigger art pieces!

Country – by Mark Lawson

As London buyers crave pragmatism, we receive more extravagant requests in the countryside, where our clients have plenty of space to work with.

To complement outdoor country living, no country home is complete without a boot room. A client of mine built himself a new boot room where each family member had their own named space, polished oak locker, each with a heater to dry out and warm up two pairs of Wellington boots. It also included heated coat, hat and glove sections. 

Often, dogs have their oak-panelled beds with their names, a shower or wash area, and sections for all their leads.

There is also demand for the ‘butler’s pantry’ as an amenity, a space that allows the host to prep for meals without entering the kitchen. These spaces are becoming more multi-functional and elaborate, and I expect this will be a trend that grows as interior designers continue to push the boundaries.

I have had clients with specific needs for wardrobe space and storage.  I once had a client who had an online database for the contents of her wardrobe so that she could track precisely which pieces of clothing were in her houses around the world. We have also seen clients with refrigerated wardrobes for those with pieces of clothing that are preserved best at lower temperatures, like faux fur and suedes.

Another popular area is the continued interest in well-being spaces and wellness activities. Padel tennis is the fastest-growing sport in the world – lots are installing courts at home. The craze spread quickly amongst country house owners and purchasers, with many building courts on their land. We have also seen clients asking for ice baths, cryotherapy chambers and meditation spaces – dedicated rooms for recovery, reflection and spirituality.

Finally, an increasing number of wealthy individuals are interested in sustainable and eco-friendly features, such as solar panels, energy-efficient appliances, and eco-conscious building materials. This means they can offset the costs of running high-end amenities such as pools and home cinemas.

The Buying Solution in The Times

Mark Lawson of The Buying Solution speaks to Victoria Brzezinski of The Times on how to sell a country property this spring.

Read more here

The Buying Solution in the Daily Mail

Jemma Scott of The Buying Solution speaks to the Daily Mail about the rise in buyers looking for homes in the “commuter” area.

Read more here

The Buying Solution in the Evening Standard

The Buying Solution’s Will Watson speaks to the Evening Standard about why Londoners are returning back to the city following the pandemic.

Read more here

The Buying Solution in The Sunday Times

The Buying Solution’s Jonathan Bramwell speaks to Liz Rowlinson of the Sunday Times on how the strength of the US dollar has led to an increase in American’s purchasing UK country property.

Read more here

The Buying Solution’s Harry and Mark in The Telegraph

Harry Gladwin and Mark Lawson discuss the affect of the current mortgage climate within the prime residential property market. Read more here.

The Buying Solution in The Times

The Buying Solution’s Harry Gladwin discusses how the current house price uncertainty is leading to more off-market opportunities. Read more here.

Things to consider before buying a listed property

Buying a house can be daunting and stressful at the best of times, but what if your dream home came with the responsibility of owning a piece of Britain’s history? For nearly half a million home owners in the UK this is a reality if they own a listed building, in other words, a building that has been judged to be of national importance  for its architectural or historic interest.

Whether it’s a chocolate box cottage, a city town house or a sprawling country estate, the joys of owning a small part of our heritage can be immensely satisfying and rewarding. Listed homes are usually lovely to look at and are – full of character and history – this is what attracts people to them in the first place. There can, however, be downsides.  Here are some key points to consider before buying a listed building.

1. Love what you see

Make sure you really like what is there when you purchase as you may be stuck with it. If you are  considering making changes after you purchase,  make sure to consult a seasoned architect or planning advisor who is used to dealing with listed buildings and has a good relationship with the Conservation Officer within the Council.

The law requires that listed building consent be granted by the local planning authority in conjunction with English Heritage for any alterations which affect the character of the listed building. The controls don’t normally extend to replacing the bathroom suite or kitchen units but most other alterations will require consent. If in doubt, speak to the Listed Property Owners Club, your local planning authority or your dedicated buying agent.

2. Alterations are difficult but not always impossible

Remember, it is often easier to make additions to listed houses than to remove or change anything existing. Adding an extension or indoor pool which doesn’t alter the main property is likely to be easier than removing an original feature, however small, even if it’s a fireplace or internal wall. If a feature is specifically mentioned in the official listing document, you haven’t got much of a chance in changing it, so check this very carefully (these can be found online here).

Grade I and II* are the higher grades which represent only the top 7% of listed buildings. Most buildings are listed Grade II. If you apply for listed building consent to make alterations, greater weight will be given to preserving the architectural and historic significance of the more highly graded buildings. English Heritage will also be consulted on these applications. It’s worth bearing in mind that all buildings are listed with a view to preserving their character, whatever the grade.

3. Beware of historic work on the property

Check the building’s listing date and any works carried out by the current or previous owners since that date have been done correctly, with appropriate listed building consent and, if relevant, planning permission. If the property does not correspond exactly with the approved plans on the consents, you as the new owner may be the one who has to reinstate any previous works. Beware of Enforcement Action.

There is no time limit to when a local planning authority can require unauthorised alterations to be reversed. It goes without saying that you need to be very cautious if you suspect alterations have been made without consent.

When a building is listed the whole building is protected, inside and outside. In fact, statutory protection extends to the building itself, anything attached to the building and any building within the curtilage of the building. If it transpires unauthorised changes have been made to the property by a previous owner, this may have an impact on you being able to mortgage the property and insure it.  

4. Think seasonal

If you’re buying in the summer, make sure the property is going to be warm enough in the winter. Old windows can often be drafty and gaining consent for double glazing is usually not possible

5. Make sure you’re covered

Be prepared for larger insurance premiums if the property is listed similar to if it is thatched. With any insurance quotes you get, make sure you read the policy and check exactly what you will be insured for as many people make the mistake of being under insured A policy obtained from an online comparison site is unlikely to be sufficient. Check that the provider will cover the full cost of a rebuild to the conservation officer’s standards should the situation arise.

The Listed Property Owners’ Club is Britain’s only advice service dedicated to helping members get the most from their homes by providing detailed guidance, information and support for just about every conceivable issue associated with ownership.

A reputable buying agent will have good knowledge of these issues and make introductions to appropriate experts prior to purchasing to avoid clients inheriting these problems.

The Buying Solution’s team has over 200 years of collective experience in purchasing listed buildings, we pride ourselves on giving our clients the best advice which is part of our winning edge in ensuring they buy the right property for their needs.

Mark Lawson MRICS


Telephone: +44 1488 607444

Mobile: +44 7721 894347


The Buying Solution in The Telegraph

The Buying Solution’s Harry Gladwin discusses ’20 British villages that have gone up in value’ with Anna White from The Telegraph. Read more here.

The Buying Solution in the Sunday Times

The Buying Solution’s Harry Gladwin featured in the Sunday Times about why there is such a desire for three/four bedroom properties. Read more here.