There are few, if any, postcodes in the world that can rival with the historically rich, culturally iconic and architecturally beautiful residential area that makes up the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. On a stroll down King’s Road, it’s not uncommon to spot the famous faces you see grazing magazine covers. If you wind up on one of the residential streets with the purpose-built flats in period mansions overlook private gardens, there is a sense of magical mysticism that is impossible to encounter in other pockets across the capital.
The history of Chelsea precedes the present – having housed some of the world’s most famous artists, iconic fashion designers, and the influx of the hip and outspoken youth of the 1960s and 70s, whilst some might complain King’s Road has been homogenised, the allure of owning property in SW3 provides security that is more than just a fashion statement.
However, price houses in Chelsea have fallen from the days of glory – with Savills reporting that the price per square foot for a one-bedroom flat in Chelsea has dropped from £1,246 in 2014 to £1,002 in 2018 (as reported on the Financial Times). That’s a near fall in 20% in less than five years. Of course, the property market in London has been fluctuating – and estate agencies are quick to stress this is due to the political environment, or perhaps George Osborne’s stamp duty returns.
For homeowners looking to sell in Chelsea, the falling house prices can trigger warning bells. However, instead of panicking – homeowners should investigate the rental market – as the data company LonRes has revealed that lettings make up 85% of transactions in the borough in 2018. What this means is that while buying appetite might remain low, letting property can guarantee returners for the homeowner, while the buying market comes back in it’s full swing again.
The age of people renting a home in London is progressively getting older, with PWC reporting that only 26% of ‘generation rent’, classified as young people from the ages of 20 to 39, will own their own home by 2025. Living in Chelsea is still desirable for the majority of ‘Generation Rent’ – with the popularity of TV series Made in Chelsea giving young renters the dream of sharing a postcode with some of their favourite celebrities a reality. By continuing to lease their property, homeowners can keep up the appetite – attracting buyer and overseas investment to the area once again.
Just a stone’s throw from Chelsea is the neighbouring Fulham Broadway, where the average age for renters is 32. Comparatively, in Chelsea the average age for renters is 40. Buying seems like a more viable investment on the borders of SW3, where for a one-bedroom flat in Fulham has a price average of £328,936, while in Chelsea a one-bedroom flat will go for £591,498. Perhaps we’ll see these figures level out in the future, as the influx of a younger demographic in the neighbouring boroughs creates higher demand.
Placemaking plays a large role for buyer interest in the area. And with the decade anniversary of the Chelsea Flower Show taking place next week (May 21-25), it draws in potential buyers to witness how the borough can truly come alive in colour. Chelsea might make up a part of West London but being a resident or owning property in the area gives you status unlike any other.