There’s prime and then there’s super-prime. The difference – in real estate terms at least – is about £10 million, according to James Taylor of Clarges Mayfair: that’s the amount Ultra High Net Worth Individuals (UHNWIs) are ready to drop on an apartment in a sought-after part of central London.
The top end of London’s property market has attracted a great deal of attention in recent years, often for the wrong reasons, with significant money, frequently said to be of dubious origin, flowing in from overseas. Some streets are reported to be empty of any life as that cash is funnelled into legitimate investments, but with no intention of anyone actually inhabiting these homes. In such circumstances, the market is also at the mercy of shifts in the global political and economic landscape.
Against this background, British Land’s move into luxury seems even more bold. Back in 2012, the developer had acquired a one-acre site overlooking London’s Green Park, part of which it proposed to turn into luxury flats. Nothing surprising there, perhaps, except that British Land’s focus has traditionally been office and retail space and only recently has it begun shifting towards mixed use developments. “We’ve got real estate skills but six years ago we knew virtually nothing about luxury,” Taylor told the MRS Luxury Research Conference (London, September 2018).