2nd July 2024

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The 2024 Guide to Buying Prime Property in London

After years of turbulence and market jitters thanks to Brexit and the pandemic followed by soaring global inflation, played out against a backdrop of political instability, Prime Central London (PCL) is showing signs of a return to health. 

Prices in PCL – usually defined as the neighbourhoods encircling Hyde Park plus a handful of affluent urban villages elsewhere;  – are static. But stock levels are increasing and buyers are coming back. The number of sales agreed is now above pre-pandemic average levels according to research from Savills, while the number of new applicants registering with the firm are also up.

The top end of the market is particularly busy. Sales of properties priced at £5m or more were 22.5% higher during the first quarter of the year than the previous five-year average according to analysis from JLL, fuelled by a mix of relocators, domestic house hunters, and international buyers.

With more buyers on the scene and more homes to choose from 2024 is shaping up to be an exciting, and increasingly competitive, time to be buying property in London.

Has Prime Central London changed in 2024? 

There is no single definition of PCL which makes it hard to spot changes.

Most agree that the core areas are those on the south and east side of Hyde Park – think Knightsbridge, Kensington, Belgravia and Mayfair. Over the years this narrow swathe of real estate has been joined by postcodes north and west of the park (Notting Hill, Hyde Park, Holland Park) as well as adjacent locations like Chelsea and parts of the West End, notably Marylebone and St James’s Park.

What has changed since the pandemic is buyers’ tastes. Many want plenty of space for entertaining and home working, which is starting to elevate top prices in places like Highgate, Battersea and Wimbledon. Black Brick recently helped a growing family find their perfect 5,500 square foot family home in Clapham which cost just a shade under £1,000 per sq ft:  

Workers returning to the office and seeking pied a terres are doing the same in key buildings in the City and Canary Wharf. 

And individual developments, like Lillie Square in Earl’s Court, Battersea Power Station and the regeneration of King’s Cross, are of such a high standard that they are also poised to join the ranks of prime. Black Brick has helped clients buy homes in all three.

In fact, such is the shortage of luxury new build in PCL (offers increased ten per cent in the year to April according to estate agent Knight Frank) that buyers are actively pursuing opportunities beyond its traditional boundaries, with the South Bank and Blackfriars seeing particular interest from top tier buyers.

What are buyers looking for in their area?

The pandemic has permanently influenced what buyers are looking for in their neighbourhoods. Good transport links and access to central London are, of course, a given, but beyond that buyers are looking for great quality high streets.

This means not just lively cafes, bars, and restaurants, but also interesting independent shops (alongside the day-to-day basics), perhaps a local arts centre, theatre, or gallery, and a strong sense of community. This is why places like Marylebone, with its fabulous farmers’ market and village-vibes (despite being a ten minute walk from the West End) have seen strong price growth.

Proximity to green space is a must – and of course Hyde Park is the most prestigious green oasis in central London. But the capital is one of the leafiest major cities in the world, full of outstanding open spaces for both relaxation and exercise, and of course for walking all those grown up lockdown puppies. “Between the commons”, the streets between Wimbledon and Clapham commons, has become a neighbourhood in its own right, while Hampstead Heath in north London and Battersea Park, south of the river, exert a strong pull on buyers. 

For families, great schools remain a key priority and are a major driver of the market. Traditionally St John’s Wood has attracted American buyers thanks to the presence of American School London, while Dulwich in south London and Hampstead and Highgate have a cluster of top performing private schools close at hand. With the likelihood of increases in private school fees if plans to start charging parents VAT on their fees translate into reality locations with fabulous state schools, from Hampstead Garden Suburb (Henrietta Barnett School) and Kingston Upon Thames (Tiffin and Tiffin Girls’ schools) are likely to become even more popular.

Finding a prime property to buy or invest in

London is a complicated city to know. You may think you have the main characteristics of the neighbourhoods nailed but every street (and even different sides of the same street) and every building has pros and cons.

From the quality of the residents’ amenities and standards of building upkeep to which gardens get the afternoon sun and which garden squares have the best summer parties, there are scores of tiny distinctions to be aware of. All will have an impact on quality of life and price. 

And those are just some of the distinctions you can see. 

Imagine buying a perfect property only to belatedly discover that you can hear the constant rumbling of tube trains running through a tunnel directly below your foundations.

In theory selling agents must disclose a property’s shortcomings. But estate agents work for the vendor and that can mean that unless you ask exactly the right questions you may not get the full picture. 

Then there is London’s secretive off market. More than one in five homes in the capital are sold without ever being advertised according to estate agent Hamptons, by owners who value discretion. You will not find these homes on property portals and they can be extremely hard to track down without the right contacts. Even if you do stumble across an off market home they have to be treated with caution as some vendors treat them as a soft launch and a chance to test the market with the highest possible price.

Learn more about London’s grey property market here: 

All of this means that using a tried-and-tested buying agent like Black Brick (read about a few of our accolades here:  is the surest way to safely navigate London’s sometimes-bewildering property market.

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We’re ready when you are

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