Wednesday, 7 May 2014

£10,000 a square foot? Sounds reasonable to me.

A flat at One Hyde Park has apparently sold for around £140m, a price equal to about £10,000 per square foot.

It seems insane. But is it?

After all, it's almost certainly a very, very nice apartment. (The Candy brothers have an unerring eye for spaces that suit the aspirations of the super-rich, and there aren't many buildings by the legendary Lord Rogers that you can actually buy a flat in.)

It's slap bang in the middle of what is arguably the world's most desirable place to own a property. (Disregard those cynics who say the building overlooks a noisy road junction.)

And, of course, it's really not so crazy when you consider how much an Oligarch or Sheik will happily shell out for a yacht that starts losing value the moment it hits the water.

No, in a mad, mad world it's not such a daft price.

Of course for the likes of you and I (assuming my readership demographics haven't taken a dramatic upward swing) it's still absolutely bonkers. But so is spending £1m or so on a Bugatti Veyron, or £100m on a Francis Bacon triptych.

It's silly money. Like a kind of super-sized game of Monopoly

A few minutes along the road from the billionaire housing estate known as One Hyde Park, we are in the midst of renovating (more accurately, rebuilding) a sweet little cottage in a charming road off Kensington High Street.

By any normal standards Abingdon Road is also expensive. Current asking prices on the street are in excess of £2000 per square foot. Which is at the very top-end of Prime Central prices.

As the eagle eyed mathematicians among you will have noticed, however, this is dirt cheap compared to a 12"x12" patch of Candy coated construction.

So why the vast differential? Why is one worth FIVE TIMES as much as the other?

Buggered if I know.

Houses on Abingdon do of course lack several features that come as standard at One Hyde Park.

There are no smartly dressed, headset-equipped ex-SAS squaddies holding open the door for you. The Mandarin Oriental does not offer room service. There is no underground car park in which to store your fleet of blacked out limos. Harvey Nichols make-up department is not just across the road. And it's a bit of a slog to the nearest McLaren car dealership.

These disadvantages aside, though, Abingdon Road's not such a bad place to live.

Even though many of the houses are now worth a great deal of money (by the standards of us mere mortals), it still feels like London. It was built on a human scale. It has a sense of community. It's pretty. It's got two very good local restaurants (Kitchen W8 and The Abingdon). Waitrose is round the corner. Holland Park is across the road.

And at £2000 a square foot it's clearly a bit of a steal.

Perhaps with a bit of branding work, some canny international marketing and a few top-end connections into the Middle East and Eastern European elites we could raise this street's desirability levels.

It has to be worth the effort. After all, at £10,000 a square foot our little house would be valued at around £15m.

I'll take that.

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