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TBS in The Telegraph – Large private gardens have become non-negotiable’: how the luxury property market is back in action

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Knight Frank
London and Country specialist property buying agents
21 May 2020  |   Will Watson

The luxury property market is back in action and Will Watson, Head of London for TBS, discusses how large private gardens have become non-negotiable.

Lockdown – and the threat of its sequel later this year – has unified the nation in its desires for outdoor space and homes that fulfill all our entertainment needs. But it’s the super-rich in London who are now acting on those ambitions, with the purveyors of the capital’s super-prime properties reporting significant spikes in enquiries since property market restrictions were relaxed on May 13th. 

The “Boris bounce” – a flurry of post-election purchases earlier this year – feels like a lifetime ago. But prepare for its successor, the “lockdown lift-off”, says Andrew Grocock, Knight Frank’s Head of Sales in the City and East region. Last week, Knight Frank saw the highest level of enquiries in a year. “This shows what happens when you temporarily suppress pent-up demand that has been building for years,” says Grocock.  

Savills has also seen new buyer registrations in prime London rise by 81% in the past week – and a 45% rise in searches among overseas buyers looking at £5m+ London properties, compared with the weekly average for the two months pre-Covid. “The prime London residential market is very much on the radar of the world’s wealthy,” says Lucian Cook, Savills’ Head of Residential Research. 

Buyers at Almacantar’s The Bryanston, Hyde Park – where apartments overlooking the royal park start from £2.6m for a one-bed through Knight Frank and Wetherell – may well have future city-based lockdowns in mind. 

Large private gardens have become “100% non-negotiable”, says Will Watson, Head of The Buying Solution, who has three clients – families with £12m-£25m budgets – looking to upgrade their London homes. “They have all been looking since 2019, and all have changed their brief in the last two weeks to include a large south or west-facing garden and/or access to a park or garden square.” 

At Chelsea Barracks – where the 13 newly complete, six-storey townhouses start at £38m through Knight Frank – 40% of its 13 acres are devoted to new garden squares and public spaces, designed by Gustafson Porter and the Chelsea gold-winning gardener Jo Thompson.

So, will the coming weeks and months see lockdown lift-off – or failure to launch if further isolation looms? As the restrictions start to ease this time round, it’s all to play for in London’s prime property market.

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