A waiting game – buying Mayfair property wisely requires more than money…
So you have the money, time on your hands and you’ve finally narrowed the location down to Mayfair as the place you want to live. Mayfair – that rarified area away from the City, attractive to private banks, hedge fund managers and boasting some of the capital’s most exclusive shops, luxury hotels, restaurants and clubs. On paper it seems you are well prepared to find and buy the perfect Mayfair property, but this is not a game of Monopoly and it will take more than a roll of the dice and money in the bank to find and secure that dream home.
Never have the words ‘location, location, location’ been more crucial than in Mayfair. History and WWII certainly changed the architecture and look of Mayfair; barely one week into the Blitz and the area running due west from Berkeley Square to Park Lane and south from Oxford Street to Piccadilly was badly bombed. The aftermath of the war meant that Mayfair’s larger properties were too expensive to to maintain as private homes and became offices and given over to commercial use.
Over the past 20 years, much of the district has become commercial, with many offices occupying converted houses, new buildings, major corporate headquarters, embassies and hotels. Consequently, the amount of prime residential property is seriously limited, only those with a trained eye together with years of buying property will know where to look.
Unlike Belgravia with its identical rows of Georgian terraces and repeated stucco fronted houses, Mayfair with capacious grand style houses is truly unique. Previously these cavernous houses were only of interest to Arab or Greek buyers. More recently there has been a shift in demand for huge houses of 10,000 sq.ft and international buyers, including wealthy Russians come to Mayfair on a quest wanting big.
The scarcity and individuality of residences along with their particular location within a given street makes it all the more difficult and time consuming when trying to buy the right house in the right place. Rarely is money or time a key motivator when looking to buy here, it really is a waiting game. Those in the know, including experienced buying agents, should understand the lie of this land and be canny when it comes to knowing where the hidden gems are.
For example take Green Street a mixture of traditional red brick houses, then changing to Portland stone. Behind the period façades only a handful of these houses enjoy a wonderful outlook over a private communal garden, while some look over a school or neighbouring property, but this is a secret few share.
The trend to sell off and convert mews houses over the years has not escaped Mayfair, so again knowing where to find these prized houses still in possession of their own mews is something of a skill. Take Charles Street with its seemingly narrow houses, insiders know there are just a sprinkling of houses including their original mews house. Securing the right flat probably necessitates honing in on one possibly two places; a specific block with the right concierge and of the right quality, and these will seldom come to the market.
Spend your millions on the wrong property and tongues will wag for all the wrong reasons. Spend your money on retaining an expert with an eye and insider knowledge and along with its expensive price tag and the prestige, you’ll be joining the ranks of select smug Mayfair residents basking in their reflected glory as they know they live on the sunny right side of the street.