Country houses for sale

The iconic London neighbourhoods where houses are cheaper than they have been for years

If you've ever wanted to live in one of the prized townhouses of Belgravia, Mayfair or Knightsbridge, now could be the time.

The time could be right to move to one of London’s most iconic addresses

Film, TV and literature may bring fame and fortune to certain areas — but the spotlight doesn’t make them immune to the vagaries of the markets and the geopolitical situation. So while average property values across London have dropped by a modest 1.3% (to £517,726) in the past year, some of the most famed parts of the metropolis have sunk much farther — even pockets of the capital immortalised by the likes of Paddington Bear, Bridget Jones and Sherlock Holmes.

Yopa analysed 20 of London’s most famous neighbourhoods and discovered that average house prices across them have fallen by 7.4% to £1m.

Belgravia, famed for its grand white stucco-fronted buildings, has been hit the worst. Local prices in the area have plummeted by 19.1%, meaning that the average home is now less than £1.1m. Mayfair isn’t faring much better, with values down 16.7% to reach £1.5m.

Knightsbridge follows, with an annual drop of 16.5%. And those beautiful townhouses in Marylebone, Chelsea and South Kensington have also seen their values decline by 15.9%, 15.2% and 11.5% respectively. While it may not be good news for those who bought a year or two ago, for those looking to make a move this could be the perfect moment.

The price drops aren’t universal across the capital’s best postcodes, however. Four swish neighbourhoods have seen values have climb: Dulwich, Richmond, Chiswick and Highgate. The eagle-eyed will notice that all are further out and far leafier than even the greenest parts of central London.

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London, but not really London: the view from Richmond Hill.

‘The majority of London’s most screen-worthy neighbourhoods are found within the capital’s prime market. With these areas boasting some of the highest house in the land, they have been more susceptible to the market slowdown caused by higher interest rates and lower buyer demand levels, with the recent decline seen in house prices being far more pronounced due to their high property price tags,’ Verona Frankish, CEO of Yopa, told Country Life.

‘It’s also worth noting that London has lost some of its competitive edge as a global financial hub following both Brexit and the impact of the pandemic. This has stifled demand from foreign buyers, many of whom often look to the capital’s most prestigious neighbourhoods when making their move.’

London’s buyer hotspots revealed

Dulwich has been named London’s number one buyer hotspot so far this year. The average monthly number of buyer enquiries in the south London neighbourhood is up a whopping 153% compared with 2023, according to Foxtons. The area is known as the home of Dulwich College, a top public school. Could this give it the winning edge?

Hampstead ranks second, with 104% more buyer enquiries per month than last year. And Ilford follows, with a 101% increase in buyer appetite.

Kingston (93%), Stoke Newington (89%), Ealing (87%), London Bridge (78%), St John’s Wood (77%), Wapping (73%) and Putney (73%) complete the top 10 buyer hotspots in London.

Foxtons CEO, Guy Gittins, says that ‘such a show of intent so early in the year only bodes well for the coming months as we head into what is traditionally the busiest time of year for market activity’.

He adds (perhaps sensing a good business opportunity): ‘So if you are thinking of purchasing in 2024, now is the time to spring into action, as you’ll already be facing a higher degree of competition from other buyers and this competition is only going to intensify.’

This house on College Road in Dulwich is for sale at £5.25m.

Flats come back into favour

How times have changed! In a reversal of the Covid-led ‘race for space’, average prices for flats have now outstripped other, larger properties, says Halifax.

Average values for flats are up by 2.7% over the last year, while terraced houses climbed by 2.6%. But detached and semi-detached houses trail behind, with prices rising by a more modest 2% and 1.7% respectively.

This trend has been fuelled by affordability constraints and resilient first-time buyers. According to Halifax, the overall number of people stepping onto the housing ladder is lower than recent years. Yet first-time buyers snapped up 53% of all homes bought with a mortgage in 2023, the highest proportion since 1995.

Unsurprisingly, they’re eyeing smaller properties. In fact, 57% of all homes bought by first-time buyers last year were flats and terraced houses.

Sales rebound as housing market warms up

Housing market momentum appears to be building, with the number of sales being agreed up 12% compared with this time in 2023. Zoopla now expects 100,000 more people to move home in 2024 than last year.

Still, annual mortgage repayments for a typical buyer are a staggering 61% higher than three years ago, acting as a drag on house price growth. UK property values have dropped by 0.2% in the last year, reveals the property portal.

Executive director, Richard Donnell, says: ‘The rebound in sales being agreed continues for a fourth month as mortgage rates have fallen, consumer confidence improves and home buyers have much greater choice of homes for sale.’

Monthly house prices fall (again)

UK house prices dropped by 0.4% in April, following a 0.2% decline in March, according to Nationwide.

Meanwhile the annual rate of house price growth slowed to 0.6%, from 1.6% the previous month, with the slowdown likely a reflection of ongoing affordability pressures, the lender says.

House prices are now around 4% below the all-time highs recorded in summer 2022.

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