If you want to go celebrity spotting in London, you could do a lot worse than Regent’s Park.
High profile residents of this historic area surrounding the royal park of the same name include Damien Hirst, Christian Candy, Gwen Stefani, Jamie Oliver and Kate Moss, not to mention all the Middle Eastern royalty and Russian oligarchs.
All this and more is revealed in a new report by local agent Kay & Co, which tracks the changing nature of the property market in this part of London over a 10-year period. It’s hard to believe this leafy, central area has ever been out of fashion, but in 2006 it was playing second fiddle to Mayfair and Belgravia. Its huge, white-stuccoed terraces were converted into offices and divided up into apartments, but it’s very much back in favour.
“In our experience, Regent’s Park has become home to a certain type of buyer who eschews the glitz of Mayfair and Belgravia for a more refined area,” says Martin Bikhit, managing director of Kay & Co.
Many of the apartments are being knocked through to form large stately homes once again, as shown in the report; the average size of property sold in Regent’s Park since 2011 has grown by 22 per cent. There has also been a 13.4 per cent drop in the number of dwellings as flats are converted into houses.
Despite this, the area hasn’t undergone a huge amount of change, and its enduring heritage architecture has become an undeniable part of its appeal.
“The Portman Estate began drawing up a masterplan for Regent’s Park in the early 1800s,” says David Fell, reserach analyst at Hamptons International. “An architectural competition was won by John Nash and the results of his plan are mostly intact to this day.
“Almost every home surrounding the park is listed or falls into a conservation area meaning there’ve been few changes over the last two centuries. The villas overlooking the park are unique and rarely change hands – when they do it’s usually for more than eight figures with interest from right around the world. However, around a third have remained in the ownership of the same families for over a century.”
Indeed, the Kay & Co research confirms this, as 56.2 per cent of Regent’s Park residents are UK born, with Middle Eastern and Asian buyers in second place at only 14.8 per cent. Most buyers are 25 to 44-years-old and 15 per cent work in the technology sector, which is the most well-represented profession in the area.
New developments – largely conversions – have also played their part in pushing up prices. Cornwall Terrace achieved values of between £26m to £46m in 2010, and The Park Crescent is on course to push them even higher.
If it’s atmospheric theatre you’re after, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre is fixture of summer in the city. For a family day out, ZSL London Zoo is pretty hard to beat, too. The Will to Win Tennis Centre is a popular local amenity, hosting junior and adult drop-in lessons and tournaments all year round. Tuck into French cuisine inside a converted stable block at Orrery London then pop into The Volunteer pub for a drink afterwards.
House prices Source: Zoopla
Transport Source: TfL
Time to Canary Wharf: 22 mins
Time to Liverpool Street: 18 mins
Nearest train station: Regent’s Park