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TBS in the FT – Chelsea’s property market slows down

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Knight Frank
London and Country specialist property buying agents
20 May 2019  |   Philip Eastwood

For years, Chelsea has been one of London’s most desirable addresses — for royals and reality TV stars alike. But according to The FT local house prices are sliding.

Sellers are reluctant to put their homes up for sale, says Philip Eastwood, Partner at The Buying Solution. “There’s a shortage of property coming to market,” he says.

There are opportunities to be had given some less salubrious parts of London are seeing higher prices than Chelsea. In 2014, the average price per square foot for a one-bedroom flat sold in Chelsea — once known as “a village of palaces” — was £1,246, according to LonRes data compiled by Knight Frank. Then, the equivalent price in Wapping, a former industrial part of the east London dockland, was £916. Last year, the average price of a one-bedroom flat in Chelsea was £1,002 per sq ft — 22 per cent less than in Wapping.

The prices of those palaces are dropping too. In the first quarter of this year, the average prime price per sq ft — which corresponds to the top 5 per cent of the market by value — was £1,600, according to calculations by Savills. That is 4.9 per cent lower than the same period in 2018, and 21.8 per cent lower than it was five years ago.

This new demand is almost entirely British, say agents. Marsh & Parsons says that “people who were buying in Tooting or Clapham South” have been attracted to Chelsea by the lower prices. “In February, I had three requests for Chelsea, all from a similar demographic. Divorcees.”

Tom Martin, chief executive of Martin’s Properties, one of the principal landowners in Chelsea after the Cadogan Estate, is trying to change things. In collaboration with local stakeholders, he has recently launched The King’s Road Partnership to curate the retail offering, while the Cadogan Estate has invested £500m in the area around Sloane Square.

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