Despite the confusion around Brexit, relations with Russia and concerns over taxation and interest rates, it seems London is still a magnet for property investment with investors looking to take advantage of a weakened pound and developers wanting to attract overseas investment. But in today’s market, it is not as simple as “build and they will come”; buyers are demanding more from their homes. Gone are the days of “Lights out London” as people are making the city a home for the whole multigenerational family, which means expectations are high and developers need to offer a lifestyle rather than just bricks and mortar.
One developer doing this is British Land with its new development, Clarges Mayfair. Only 34 residences are available and price tags start at £4.25 million (Dh20.66 million), it is not just the stunning views over Green Park and Buckingham Palace, the 25-ft stainless steel swimming pool in the basement and the secure rotating car lift that are attracting buyers from all over the world — it is a little more personal than that.
According to James Taylor, head of residential, the attention to detail and a building’s personality are keys to attracting buyers, which is why Clarges has spent as much time developing a dedicated concierge team as it has sourcing the building’s intricate marblework and dazzling artwork.
“The way people live today and how they use their homes has changed so much — there’s a real fluidity in travel and intensity of use that wasn’t there a few years ago. People didn’t use their properties, but now the whole family is sharing the space and it’s our role to make sure it is ready to enjoy the moment they arrive,” says Taylor. “Our team needs to have the emotional intelligence and understanding to read each resident’s needs — some want to be greeted with a handshake, while others want complete privacy. It’s our role to know that.”
And this sentiment is echoed by Ed Lewis, head of residential for Savills. “Buyers are looking for homes not trophies, so the detail is key. They don’t have to rush and they know what they are looking for, which means developers can’t cut corners.”
But with a potential global audience looking to take a slice of London’s very limited and sought-after luxury market, how can developers ensure they get it right? “Different nationalities have different requirements for their homes, but if you are buying in London, you want to be buying a quintessentially London property,” says Lewis. “You want to feel as if you are in London, or else you might as well be in your flat in Dubai or Monaco or Mumbai. You want a point of difference and London affords to give them that. Even with a new build, there is always a relationship to the past and the city.”
And this is an attitude that Clarges Mayfair has applied since the team demolished the existing site in 2014. “Even back then, we were looking at the motto and narrative of the building and realised that craftsmanship, legacy and distinction were the defining phrases for Clarges Mayfair,” says Taylor.